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UArts students could get some answers at virtual meeting Friday, but many say they aren't hopeful

University of the Arts students say next steps are still uncertain after abrupt closure
University of the Arts students say next steps are still uncertain after abrupt closure 02:08

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It's been nearly a week since the University of the Arts in Philadelphia closed its doors last Friday, and many students and their families feel they're no closer to answers as to the real reason the University closed or what's next for them. 

Students say they're weary and feel they've received conflicting information. But on Friday, they'll have a chance to attend an informational meeting over Zoom, hosted by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). 

In the meeting, which starts at 10 a.m. and is set to go for 90 minutes, commission representatives will be joined by several other state agencies as well as Alvarez and Marsal, the consulting firm hired by the university to assist with the closure.

In an email Wednesday, a representative from MSCHE said, "We are working very quickly to process teach-outs so that students can access that information as soon as possible. We will share information about teach-outs with students on Friday, June 14, 2024, during our informational meeting for University of the Arts students, and hope to post them to our website by that time as well."

Jimmy Butterfield, a rising senior, said he'll likely attend the Zoom meeting, but he said he's not hopeful that any solution will come close to the specialized education he was receiving at UArts. Butterfield was pursuing a double major in saxophone performance and a special program called Music Business Entrepreneurship and Technology, or MBET.

"[MBET] was one-of-a-kind," Butterfield said. "We did a lot of stuff with engineering in both studio and live settings. We had very cool audio electronics classes where we learned how to build cables, different kinds of guitar pedals … engineering, audio electronics, sound design, one-of-a-kind production classes. There's so many unique aspects of that one program alone."

Tricia Mitchell, the mother of a student who was a rising junior studying animation, said she's still waiting on information about teach-out plans. Her son Axel Lowery was going into his third year at UArts studying animation. She said Lowery now is interested in Moore College of Art and Design, also in Philadelphia. But she doesn't know if it will be a seamless transition for him.

"They really don't have an agreement yet with UArts, so Axel might have to take extra classes for his major," Mitchell said.

In the meantime, Mitchell said, she's coming up against deadlines. Moore College is asking for a non-refundable housing fee, but until she has information on teach-out plans, she's hesitant to pay it. 

Butterfield's finances also took a hit. He lost several jobs tied to the university, including contract work and his work-study program. He was also going to be a resident assistant for the third year, which would have taken care of his housing. But above all, Butterfield said he's upset he won't be surrounded by the people he's come to care about so deeply.

"I want people to know that UArts was a very, very unique community," Butterfield said. "There's not many spaces like that around, and now there's one less."

After the publishing of this report, Moore College reached out to CBS News Philadelphia to confirm the college does have a teach-out partnership with UArts that will allow students to make a seamless transition, with all credits transferring from UArts to Moore.

"To support the UArts students impacted by this closure, we have partnered with UArts to create a seamless path to enrollment at Moore called FastTrack to Moore." Moore College said in a statement. "UArts students interested in FastTracking to Moore this Fall can find more information about Moore's seamless transition including: credits from UArts accepted directly to Moore, academic scholarships will be honored; an academic plan to ensure timely graduation; and personalized 1:1 admissions counseling support,  at"

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