University of the Arts closure: School closes its doors for good while rallies persist

Students and faculty at the University of the Arts say the fight is not over. Rallies were held Friday in protest of the sudden closure of the school and those rallies were full of passion and tears over the ending of a 150-year institution and an end students and staff say they didn’t see coming.

"If this is the end of a 150-year institution, this is a pretty good ending," said rising junior Michael Pogudon. He was studying music composition at the University of the Arts. He and other students brought their talents to the steps of Hamilton Hall to showcase what they have learned and now lost.

"Even if we lose the building and the name, we still have each other," said Pogudon during a jam session hosted by UArts School of Music students. They found out a week ago that their school was abruptly closing for good due to unspecified financial challenges. The school closed for good Friday.

"Have we received any answers? No. The president quit. The board of directors is silent," said staff member Charis Duke.


University of the Arts to shut its doors in early June, officials say in surprise announcement

University of the Arts to close its doors in early June, in surprise announcement made by school officials.

Earlier Friday, there was a much different tone.

"When art education is under attack what do we do? Stand up, fight back," the crowd chanted during a mass rally led by United Academics of Philadelphia and the American Federation of Teachers.

"Transparency now. Transparency now," the crowd chanted. They are also demanding accountability and justice.

"Every sanctioned institution that believes in its mission would have immediately pulled people together and said how can we fight it?" said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers.


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Current students and recent graduates spoke tearfully.

"May those responsible for ripping so many futures away never know the gift of a clean conscience," said Brenna Patzer.

Staff commended the students.

"I was moved when I heard that some of you slept on the steps. It felt so right and you made me so proud of you," said Associate Professor Laura Frazure.

Faculty and staff including students who work on campus got final notice on a Zoom call today ahead of the rallies.

"When you get an email saying job updates and the school is closed you can kind of put two and two together and realize, ‘I know where this is going.’ There are only 100 staff members left at the school now. Everyone else has been immediately fired. Teachers who have worked here 30 years are now left in the dust," said Poguden who worked four student jobs on campus.