UMass Amherst to Temporarily Halt Admissions to Consumer Studies; Review to be Conducted

AMHERST, Mass. - The University of Massachusetts will suspend admissions into its two undergraduate programs in the department of consumer studies for the coming fall semester. The programs are apparel marketing and family and consumer sciences.

The decision was announced by Cora B. Marrett, provost and senior vice chancellor for academic affairs. Marrett said the dean of the College of Food and Natural Resources, Robert Helgesen, had asked her to consider closing the department of consumer studies because nearly half the faculty had left over the past five years and it had become clear that these positions could not be refilled. Given the faculty reduction, Marrett agreed to suspend admissions for the coming year while a review is conducted about the future of the department. Marrett said she has asked the Faculty Senate to give advice on that proposal.

Marrett said that no matter what decision is made about closing the department, all current students will be allowed to finish their degrees. Helgesen said he had been concerned about the resources in the department for several years, and that his decision to act now predates the current budget situation.

In making the announcement, Marrett said: "We must be certain that we can offer students the best possible experience. While we can give our current students a good experience in their major, we are not sure we can continue to do so." Marrett said plans have been developed to offer a concentration in family and consumer economics in the department of resource economics within the next two or three years.