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Mason Gross extends application to displaced UArts students after school closure

After Philadelphia-based University of the Arts (UArts) suddenly announced its permanent closure in early June, Mason Gross School of the Arts released a unique application for its blindsided students. – Photo by ajay_suresh /

After a nearby art school's unexpected closure, Mason Gross School of the Arts offered solidarity and assistance in a statement on June 2. The Rutgers chapter of the American Association of University Professors and American Federation of Teachers (AAUP-AFT) said its members had not heard about this move from the administration.

The Mason Gross statement came in response to an announcement on May 31 by the University of the Arts (UArts) in Philadelphia that it would close down operations from June 7.

"Today is a heartbreaking day," the statement read. "University of the Arts will close as of Friday June 7, 2024."

The school lost its accreditation after missing a critical deadline from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, the Commission reported.

The post announced that the school would host town hall meetings to address community inquiries on June 3, which was canceled "just minutes before it was supposed to start," according to an article by Inside Higher Ed. UArts President Kerry Walk's resignation induced the sudden cancellation, according to a statement on Instagram by the UArts chapter of the United Academics of Philly.

Krisa Halasy, a UArts alum and now-former student financial counselor for the school, said she initially responded to the news in disbelief.

"I learned about the closure of UArts through a news article sent to me on Friday night. Funny enough, I responded by saying, 'That's wild! I think I'd know if we were closing this week, especially considering I'm enrolling students for the fall,'" she said in an interview with The Daily Targum.

She continued that while more senior staff members seemed to be aware of financial issues at the school, UArts administration's positive messaging made the news especially unexpected for Halasy and others employed at UArts.

While Halasy does not have student debt from her time attending UArts, she said acquaintances who do have allegedly not received information about the status of their loans.

"In my four years studying at UArts, I always said that the students and faculty kept me there and that the administration made it hard to stay. I now stand on that harder than I ever have before," Halasy said.

In the midst of the crisis at UArts, Rutgers and Philadelphia schools Temple University, Drexel University and Moore College of Art and Design have stepped forward with programs to assist UArts students.

In its statement, Mason Gross claimed it is "working on outlining a viable pathway for UArts students who are exploring completing their degrees at Mason Gross."

In a follow-up post, Mason Gross announced its application process for displaced UArts students. The Rutgers University Application closed June 15, while the deadline for the Mason Gross Talent Assessment/Artistic Application is June 30.

The Targum asked Emalina Thompson, interim assistant dean for admissions and enrollment management at Mason Gross, whether Mason Gross administration anticipates changes in capacity, access to resources or University-wide allocations. Thompson declined to answer since the application is still open.

While members of Rutgers AAUP-AFT were reportedly not made aware of this decision prior to Mason Gross's social media announcements, Mason Gross-affiliated union members declined to comment without further clarification on the situation.

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