UNLV has decided Gov. Brian Sandoval’s budget leaves the university no choice but to cut major liberal arts programs that are critical to educating a well-rounded person.
On the chopping block — philosophy, women’s studies and social work. Why? Because conservatives have freaked out about humanities programs, suggesting diversity courses are unnecessary and that only science should be supported.
UNLV can’t be considered a university if it doesn’t balance sciences with humanities. We can argue about the merits in 2011 of an undergrad degree in philosophy if you want, but we certainly should never argue the critical-thinking skills students learn from reading philosophers and pondering their own place in society.
We can argue about whether having 30 students majoring in Women’s Studies justifies the major. But we certainly should never suggest that students shouldn’t be expected to learn about historic and ongoing civil rights struggles and their place in the modern workplace.
But let’s talk for a moment about Social Work. March is Social Work Month. And how does the governor’s budget respect those who choose that noble profession? By slashing social service and welfare funding and proposing such massive cuts to the university system that Neil Smatresk decides the only way he can salvage UNLV is to eliminate Social Work.
Here’s what social work professor William Epstein told the Review-Journal today. http://www.lvrj.com/news/unlv-to-kill-315-jobs-33-degree-programs-to-meet-proposed-budget-cuts-117623393.html
William Epstein, a social work professor, said losing that department would be terrible for Nevada.
“The state’s social services are deplorable,” he said. “Cutting the program is like giving the finger to working people.”
Epstein said it would be difficult to recruit social workers to Nevada from out of state if the university eliminates the program.
“Who in their right mind would move here?” he said.