The Arts and Humanities' Faculty budget is slated to see contract faculty cut and class sizes increased on Friday as part of Western's overall budget, according to an online petition lobbying against the changes. 

The move has propelled recent English and creative writing graduate Sherri Liska to launch a petition on change.org, urging administration to reconsider the changes. 

"During a period of cultural disparagement of the arts (e.g: exploitative internships), cutting [arts and humanities] funding would only perpetuate the cycle of potentially brilliant arts students being disinclined to register," Liska wrote on the petition page. 

In an interview to the Gazette, Liska explained that she started the petition after a conversation with one of her professors. 

"I prodded around various sources for more information and learned that Western was planning to not only expand class sizes, but to reduce the arts and humanities budget and remove numerous contract professors," she said, adding how important contract professors are.

"These are caring, dedicated people who always worked far above our expected 40-hour week, yet earned far less than officially-full-time professors," Liska said.

At the time of publication, the petition has been signed by over 325 people who believe the cuts will stifle the experience of students. 

Incoming senator for arts and humanities and FIMS and former Faculty of Music Students' Council president Jaclyn Siou expressed frustration as she signed the petition.

"I've seen these cuts happen too often for the liberal arts. In today's political climate, there's too much emphasis placed on S.T.E.M. Regardless of that stance, why should those who pay to go to Western for these faculties be presented with less opportunity?" She wrote. 

Western's budget will be released on April 14 and then debated and voted on at April 21's Senate meeting before heading to Western's Board of Governors on May 4 for final approval. 

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Bradley is the digital managing editor for Volume 110 of the Gazette. This is his fourth year on the editorial board, previously working in Opinions, Sports, and Culture. He's a recent graduate with a degree in Canadian-American relations.

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