YSU Dana School Isn’t Closing but Some Majors Are Ending, University Says

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — The Youngstown State University Dana School of Music isn’t closing, but some majors will “sunset” at the end of this academic year because of low enrollment, according to a statement issued Sunday afternoon by the university.

“Youngstown State University’s Dana School of Music is NOT closing, contrary to social media posts,” the statement said. “Four consistently low-enrolled majors, which have had approximately 12 graduates in the past five years, will be sunset this academic year.”

Those majors are bachelor of arts in music, bachelor of music in composition, master of music in composition and master of music in jazz studies.

“Students currently enrolled in these four majors will be able to graduate from their designated major,” the university statement says.

The step aligns with the Ohio Department of Educations’ review of duplicative and low-enrolled programs, the university says.

It says Dana will undergo a reorganization to “to enhance and rejuvenate the school to better serve students and improve the marketability of graduates.”

The statement, which refers to social media posts, comes after online campaigns started over this weekend, save-dana.com and https://www.change.org/p/save-the-dana-school-of-music. The petitions read that Dana has been “canceled.”

They urge people to sign to “Save Dana.”

The petitions say, “YSU Administration is effectively dismantling the Dana School of Music, a beacon for the arts in the Northeast Ohio region with a 150+ year history.”

The online petitions, which mirror one another, refer to a meeting in December of the YSU Board of Trustees Governance Committee where the associate provost talked about the university reexamining reallocating resources from programs that aren’t meeting goals to those that meet high performance marks.

At that meeting, Jennifer Pintar, associate provost, said the “approach is not just about pruning our offerings, but is a strategic reallocation of resources that reinforces our commitment to excellence and relevance.”

She said at the meeting that university recognizes the limitations of continuous reallocation as a sustainable strategy and “is instead choosing to actively invest in areas with potential for growth in market share,” the associate provost said.

The online petitions also dispute some of the enrollment numbers cited at the committee meeting.

“YSU’s Board of Trustees needs to know that they were deceived by the administration,” the petition reads. “The administration needs to know that the public won’t stand for this. Please sign, and share the petition on social media, and spread the word about this outrage!”

The university statement issued Sunday says the reorganization allows YSU to “re-envision and differentiate the undergraduate and graduate programs in Music Education and Music Performance as well as continue to support Music Recording and community initiatives, including the YSU Youth Orchestra.”

It concludes that the university continues “to value the Dana School of Music and the impact it has on the university and the surrounding community.”

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.