KEYSER - A Mineral County teacher and Fairmont State University alumna has launched a campaign to urge FSU to reconsider its decision last week to terminate its music and theater educations program.


The Fairmont board of governors made the decision to cut the programs as a cost-cutting measure, but that decision immediately created a backlash from the community and FSU alumni.


Lisa Johnson, who teaches music, chorus and drama at Frankfort Middle School, graduated the music education program at Fairmont in 1988 and felt she had to do something to convince the governors of the importance of fine arts education in the schools.


“The music and theater programs have fostered ethically responsible, professionally-minded theater artists to become practitioners, scholars, and educators,” she says in her online petition to save the programs. “The university has a long vibrant history of educating teachers in these fields and has produced many superior educators, many of whom teach and help funnel students to attend FSU.


“We are aware of the need to be frugal during the lean years of higher education, but cutting these programs would be more of a blow than a blessing … The arts programs are a vessel to gather community members and potential students from around the world and gives the university a way to ‘shine.’”


Johnson went on to speak of the importance of the fine arts to the world in general.


“The arts gives soul to the universe. It gives wings to the mind. Also flight to the imagination, charm, gaiety to life and everything.”


She invites fellow FSU alumni, as well as anyone who supports the arts and arts education, to go to change.org, search for Fairmont State University and sign her petition.


The goal is to have 2,500 signatures. As of early Wednesday afternoon, she had 1,935.