North Texas Daily

UNT’s eradication of the fibers program proves where its priorities lie

UNT’s eradication of the fibers program proves where its priorities lie

UNT’s eradication of the fibers program proves where its priorities lie
August 23
21:20 2018

We’ve all been dumped via a message on a screen, but this is just ridiculous.

On Aug. 15, UNT announced to its arts students in the fiber arts concentration — by means of a lengthy email — that the program will be phased out within the next year. According to what looks like a hastily thrown-together FAQ page on the topic, school administrators promise that academic advisors will soon be in contact with students with a fibers degree plan on file, and those students’ degrees will be honored. But new students will no longer be admitted to the fibers concentration.

The email from the dean is, of course, very polite, apologetic and full of admiration and praise for all the work the fibers students have put in and the rich history of the fibers tradition across time and cultures. But this sugarcoating does not alleviate the fact that hundreds of students are now displaced and have to re-adjust their classes, degree plans and more to ensure they take the right courses in order to graduate with their desired degree.

Imagine receiving an email two weeks before the start of your senior year letting you know that your major has been canceled due to lack of space in a brand-spanking-new facility built specifically for your arts college.

UNT is a school that serves a large population of art and creative field majors and is nestled in a town with a propensity to make art and music just about everywhere you look. So where is all the support for these prominent enterprises?

Sure, the College of Visual Arts and Design (CVAD) just completed construction on a new $70 million building, and that’s fantastic. But the number of overt, perceivable examples like this of the school’s support for and investment in the arts can be counted on one hand.

In short, UNT leaders need to stop trying to brand the university as a big, classic Texas school (say, A&M) and play to the strengths it already possesses. The reality is this school is not well-known for its indomitable football force. We’re known for our vigorous communication design program, our many successful music groups and artists, our groundbreaking Short Film Club, our century-old Mayborn School of Journalism and other art and liberal arts endeavors that evidently are not as deserving of being considered a priority.

UNT officials cited lack of space in the new 128,354-square foot facility as the reason why the fibers program is coming to an end. The CVAD’s dean wrote in the initial email that they could not, “in good conscience, offer a program without also being able to dedicate to it the appropriate space.” This is a sufficient statement if the university was contemplating adding a new major option but decided against it, not announcing the disintegration of a current major program with students actively working toward that degree.

And it almost goes without saying: Man, that’s a big building — is there really no room? There was room for fibers in the old, 83,000-square foot art building, but not in the new one that’s nearly 50,000 feet larger?

There’s been multitudes of upgrades, renovations and additions to this university and never before has it resulted in the cancellation of an entire degree concentration. For as original, innovative and brilliant the young people of this community are, the university seems to struggle with showcasing these strengths.

Among the many questions that remain is one about the old art building: What is to become of the space that once had “room” for its fiber majors and housed the majority of art classes, sculptures and fashion designs students? Staying on-brand with the university’s priorities, it will probably sit unused for years and under no circumstances will it be modified into parking.

Featured Illustration by Austin Banzon

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North Texas Daily

North Texas Daily

The North Texas Daily is the official student newspaper of the University of North Texas, proudly serving UNT and the Denton community since 1916.

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  1. thejohnadelman
    thejohnadelman August 27, 09:31


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  2. Kyli
    Kyli August 27, 12:46

    $70 million dollars, 128,354 sqaure feet, the Welch Complex, and Bane hall and you still can’t “find a place” for a successful program with an incredibly rich history? Fibers is the foundation for fashion design, an integral part of interior design, as well as a huge movement in modern art. Not only are the college’s priorities not in line (there’s room for a coffee shop but not an existing program???), but they are obviously terribly unorganized…

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