Eastern Kentucky University students hold mock funeral at capitol

RICHMOND, Ky. — A funeral was held at the Kentucky State Capitol building on Monday, but no one was being laid to rest.

A group of college students from Eastern Kentucky University held a mock funeral to protest budget cuts to higher education. Students dressed up in black, imitating mourners, and carried an empty wooden casket inside.

The mock funeral was held to say goodbye to Eastern Kentucky University's theater program -- just one of the programs removed from the campus due to program and personnel cuts. But theater was only one of many "casualties"from the $25 million budget cut. Among other studies no longer offered at EKU because of it, are economics and deaf studies. It also closed the university's Danville campus, ended men's and women's tennis, and stopped funding its marching band.

Earlier this month, EKU also cut about 150 positions, nearly 100 of them filled by faculty and staff.

President Michael Benson blamed "declining enrollment and nearly a decade of budget cuts" for the losses, but EKU is far from alone with many lawmakers focusing more on math and science degrees over the liberal arts.