SIU Trustees heard pleas to save the Africana Studies program during their meeting this week in Alton.
Ella Lacey is a retired faculty member from SIUC, a three-degree graduate of the school, and a member of the Carbondale Racial Justice Coalition.
"We feel a terrible loss for the campus as well as for the community at large. We note that closure of Africana studies would be very insensitive to the needs continually evidenced in our country, and especially now for racial and cultural inclusion."
But Chancellor Carlo Montemagno says it's not about dropping the program - rather making sure its impact is effective.
"This is part of our DNA, it's part of our heritage and who we are. We are not going to abandon who we are."
Over the summer, plans were announced that put Africana Studies on a list for potential elimination.
University leaders say it's not a final decision yet, and they're working on ways to make sure the program has a greater impact on the campus and community.