Giving it All Away
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Ask yourself the childhood question, “If you give a mouse a cookie?”
Your immediate response is, “He’s going to ask for a glass of milk.” This story perfectly describes the current situation facing the students and faculty of Emporia State. Every time we give a new program to the Kansas Board of Regents, they are going to want another one.
Last year, it was the political science major under duress. Now, parts of the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degree programs may be eliminated. Programs that reflect the very nature of a liberal arts education are at risk.
The university claims that cutting the program will lead to financial savings. These degrees prepare an individual for virtually any career in history, geography, philosophy, anthropology, economics, law and linguistics. I fear that my own BA history program may be considered for a future KBOR executioner’s block.
The current pressing issue, according to the Faculty Senate’s hearing last Friday, was that both the BA and BS programs have not been able to enroll the required amount of students to keep both programs afloat. They claim that any money alloted would be best spent elsewhere. Ellen Hansen, chair of social science and professor of geography, and Deborah Gerish, associate professor of history, both commented that there is no point in cutting the degrees because the classes taught under these courses of study are also necessary for other degree programs. These classes will remain, regardless of an available social science bachelor’s degree. What is the point of cutting a program that requires no financial or material assistance?
Are these discontinuances a precursor for many more eliminations yet to come? We give a little, then a little bit more, until – just like that – our departments shrink in the size, capability and resources needed for robust academic consumption. It is absolutely ridiculous that we should have to compromise our degree programs in order to appease an all-powerful political body with no valid reasons behind eliminating them.
I urge every student from every department and every grade level to get involved in your academic field. Communicate with your professors and ask for ways in which you can support your department. It is your responsibility as ESU students to support your mentors in an effort to save and expand learning opportunities for all present and future scholars.