The University of Mary Washington’s proposed “resource reallocation” is a discussion that has made the Bullet very nervous. While the Bullet is wary of cuts to the liberal arts, an unfortunate series of budget cuts from the Commonwealth of Virginia placed UMW, and other Virginia schools, in a difficult position.
The Virginia legislature has cut funding for higher education several years in a row, to the point that it only funds about 20 percent of UMW’s operations.
This is forcing the UMW administrators to treat higher education as a business, eliminating inefficiencies that are integral to a liberal arts school.
The Bullet would ask this of the administration: remember what we are when choosing to cut funding.
The College of Arts and Sciences is the shining star of the university, not the second-rate unaccredited business school, which is rumored to be the potential beneficiary of any reallocated resources.
The modern foreign languages department offers students valuable skills. If anything, the school should add to this department to include advanced Chinese, Pashtu and Arabic, which will provide students with a highly sought-after skill set.
Additionally, a liberal arts college is intended to provide a well-rounded education. Students at UMW don’t care if only five people are classics majors. Students attend this school because they like the freedom to take a classics class if they so desire. The same goes for courses such as dance, history or any other class in the College of Arts and Sciences.
The Bullet recognizes that a lack of Commonwealth funding is forcing the school to eliminate academic and administrative inefficiencies. However, rather than cave to the Commonwealth’s priorities, which are inconsistent with what UMW’s should be, the University should refuse to abandon the liberal arts in favor of STEM programs and the business major fad. Instead, it could break the news that Virginia is literally not providing enough funds for the school to function, which is a much bigger news story.