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MSU students speak out about fear of cuts to Cell Biology and Neuroscience program

Posted at 4:02 PM, Jan 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-08 18:26:03-05

BOZEMAN – One of the biggest reasons Montana State University graduate student Rosana Molina is in Bozeman is because of the Cell Biology and Neuroscience (CBN) program.

Over the course of Molina’s education, she has strived in academics, which has lead to her receiving a grant from the National Institute of Health to fund her doctorate as well as a published piece of work in the Nature Methods. Recently, Molina became concerned when she heard the MSU administration was considering cutting the research part of the program to focus on teaching without first consulting with the students.

“Like how was your graduate program?” said Molina. “What can we do to make it better? Instead of it’s a very strange top-down thing that is going on.”

Molina isn’t the only student concerned. Others in the program like Junior Zariah Tolman believe the decrease in research will negatively affect students’ future.

“So the CBN major is so much more than like taking the classes to help me get into med school,” said Tolman. “Its the research, and the research has become easily the most important part of my undergraduate.”

MSU Vice President of University of Communications Tracy Ellig said the dispute and tension between the department and the administration have only caused unneeded hardship on the students.

“The students who are enrolled in the program are going to be able to complete their program,” said Ellig. “And it’s just so disappointing the anxiety created among students. Completely unnecessary.”

Students like Alessandra Miller are happy to have the reassurance of finishing their education at MSU, but it is not enough. They want a seat at the table to discuss the future of the program.

“Ask us questions like ‘Hey, well we are seeing these issues, how can you improve on them?” said Miller. “Or what is your take on this? It is baffling really. Considering they want to dissolve this and they are not involving us in any discussion and they are not open to compromise about the situation and the creation of a new program or a new school, it is extremely upsetting.”

Reporting by Mederios Babb for MTN News

WEB EXTRA: Unedited interview with Tracy Ellig, vice president of university communications for MSU