YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Youngstown State University’s faculty union joined students and the community Thursday to fight to save multiple programs at the university.

It was the second rally they have hosted about the program cuts.

In total, there are 26 programs that the board has decided to cut after this year. That includes eight associate’s programs, 12 bachelor’s degree programs and six master’s programs.

But the YSU OEA said many of these programs, specifically those that are art- and cultural-based, are too important to just cut.

“It makes YSU unique, and I think when you start to cut those sorts of centers, I mean, these aren’t even just programs, these are also centers. I think people are waking up and saying this is not good for YSU. It’s not good for the students. It’s not good for the community,” said YSU OEA spokesperson Mark Vopat.

Vopat said these programs make a well-rounded student and that having these courses offered for YSU students makes them stand out when entering the job market.

However, the faculty union says there are better ways to cut costs.

The university says this is due to budget cuts, which are caused by a decline in enrollment. However, the YSU faculty union says there are other ways to cut costs without losing programs, some of which have local cultural ties.

Vopat said the union has proposed looking into other non-academic parts of the university to save money.

“Let’s look at how we spend our money on the administrative side. Let’s look where we’re investing in those areas, in those other areas of the university. Let’s look at how much we’re spending on athletics,” Vopat said.

“Not even reconsidering the athletics budget for a losing team is ridiculous if you’re going to cut 26 programs and all of this faculty,” adds sophomore computer science major Mary Dippolito.

Vopat said the university has been reactive when it comes to the budget, and not proactive. He used Cleveland State as an example of a university that has faced similar budget problems but has managed to get away without cutting programs. He says cutting academic programs should be a last resort.