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Brandeis University will put its two doctoral programs in music composition and theory and in musicology on hiatus with plans to close them, The Boston Globe reported.

The university, whose list of most famous faculty members included Leonard Bernstein early in its existence, sent a letter to faculty members last week saying that it was no longer in a position to sustain the two Ph.D. programs at the required level, the Globe reported. The letter said the change would allow the university to strengthen its undergraduate program in music “so it compares to those at elite liberal arts colleges.”

The chair of the music department, Eric Chasalow, told the Globe that the news was “a shock to all of us.” Chasalow, a former graduate school dean at Brandeis, said he empathized with his colleagues in the administration but believed the university was prioritizing the sciences over the arts.

A letter from music alumni cited by the Globe accused Brandeis of putting at risk the association it has long touted with Bernstein, Aaron Copland and other musicians who helped put the university on the map. “By discontinuing this program,” they wrote, “we risk severing a crucial link to a heritage that has not only defined our university’s contribution to the arts but has also enriched the broader cultural tapestry of our nation.”