It was announced that the “University” of Akron will eliminate 80 programs to make room for some enhanced majors, an esports program, and to save money. I propose that any institution of higher education that doesn’t offer its students degrees in philosophy, political science, sociology, history, most modern languages, mathematics, or physics not be allowed to call itself a university. If the bulk of your program offerings are professional programs then you aren’t a university. Akron isn’t the first regional “university” to slash academic departments/programs to focus on other issues. These sorts of cuts are only part of a growing trend (e.g. SUNY Albany, SUNY Stony Brook, University of Wisconsin Stevens Point). One that should come at a costs to the institutions . . . they need to hand in their “university” card. They might well be top-notch polytechnic or professional institutions but they’re not a university.
Carter G. Woodson is rightly known as the father of African-American history, but the debt owed to Woodson by both American society, and historians of American culture, goes well beyond his scholarly contributions. Now, one of the few libraries named after Woodson and a facility that houses one of the largest collections of Afro-American history and literature is in serious danger. Libraries serve as not only sources of community, connection and learning, but also as social repositories of memory. Without a memory both people and societies are lost – they have no identity. A threat to our collective memory, is a threat to our individual dignity.