As a senior religion major in the College of Arts and Sciences, I have tried to bite my tongue at the proposed budget cuts. I tried to convince myself that these cuts were somehow distributed equally across the board. Despite my attempts at denial, the truth has won out and I find the cuts have been disproportionately targeted at the College of Arts and Sciences (as pointed out in a letter to the editor in The Gateway’s Sept. 24 edition).
A high school teacher of mine stated that you can tell much about a university’s priorities by looking at its budget. With this premise in mind, it is obvious that this university’s priority is NOT liberal education but leans more toward what would be considered technical education.
This university was founded on the basis of liberal arts education but these budget cuts are serving the university a blow from which I am doubtful it can recover. I wonder how many years will it be until the University of Nebraska at Omaha changes its name to the University of Omaha Technical School. With the way things are headed, my guess is not many.
Another issue that screams for examination is why the majority of cuts are focused on the very programs that promote diversity and better understanding of cultures. Is the university trying to send a hidden message to its students? Students of color and their friends are already hearing the message loud and clear – we are narrowing our mission and you are no longer a part of it.
Ironically, as the areas of religion, sociology, anthropology, women’s studies and political science are being lined up for the firing squad, UNO is getting ready to welcome 20 women from Afghanistan to its campus to help educate them on how to reeducate the civilian population of Afghanistan. The departments being lined up for execution are the very departments that help teach why what happened in Afghanistan happened and what could be done to avoid such tragedies in the future. While I join the university as it welcomes these women to campus, I find that it is setting an odd double standard: While educating women who are forbidden to teach, learn or be by themselves, the university prepares to slash the very departments that allow women (and men) of our country to do just that, taking giant strides backwards to a patriarchal era that many thought was nearing its end.
Of course, what would a letter to the editor be without a purposed solution to the budgetary crisis? Here is mine. Since the necessary actions are already in line, I propose that the university system rewrite its admissions policy and allow only white, landowning, upper class, Christian males whose family makes over $100,000 a year to attend the university. A bit over dramatic? Perhaps, but then the Nazis came to power little by little too and after all, the Constitution of our founding fathers only considered such persons qualified for citizenship in 1776. Why should we go further than they did?
Senior, Department of Religion
P.S. This letter was made possible by a liberal arts education. Dangerous? Maybe, but only to those who realize its grains of truth.