I don’t know much, but I do know that music therapy is pretty close to being cutting edge. Cutting edge like the drone technology the University of North Dakota has so broadly embraced in the last few years. Too bad UND administrators can’t see the connection.
Without going into detail, music therapy has helped countless people, from infants to the aged, in relieving pain, stress and anxiety. It has been shown to benefit those with autism and dementia. The list goes on and on.
UND is the only school in the state offering the program. As a course of study, it provides students with a career path with almost unlimited opportunities.
Sadly, UND has announced plans to suspend its Music Therapy Program, part of $9.5 million in budget cuts the school has been asked by the governor to make in its current budget.
According to the Grand Forks Herald, UND Music Department Chairman Michael Wittgraf said suspending the music therapy program wasn’t part of a plan he submitted to UND College of Arts and Sciences Dean Debbie Storrs in Februrary.
To their great credit, UND Interim President Ed Schafer and his wife, Nancy, invited a group of students protesting the program’s suspension to entertain state lawmakers and others who were at the president’s home for a social gathering Monday evening. Those close to the situation believe Schafer could reconsider the decision to suspend the program before he makes a final decision by April 15.
If I were a UND administrator, I would be holding my head in shame. If I were a North Dakota lawmaker or a member of the state Higher Eduation Board, I would be climbing on the bandwagon (no pun intended) to stop the program’s suspension, or creating one to do so.