CLA mum on humanities

The administration must be more transparent in their decision-making.

Daily Editorial Board

The University of MinnesotaâÄôs humanities program is on the chopping block. While it isnâÄôt a large program, it does not deserve to be wiped out without an explanation.

The College of Liberal Arts has remained mum on exactly why they are trying to cut the program. A decision that affects the education of students âÄî no matter how few âÄî demands more transparency.

Humanities program senior lecturer James Norwood has been a vocal critic of the secretive way the administration has operated in trying to cut the program.

The idea of eliminating the humanities minor has been on the table since the beginning of last semester. An explanation is long overdue.

Gary Oehlert, CLA associate dean for planning, is leading this process, but he makes information on it nearly inaccessible. If members of the media wish to speak with him, they must go through the “spin” machine. The legion of public relations staff does not help answer questions openly and honestly âÄî in fact, they exist to choke off information and distort it to make their organization look good regardless of the actions it actually takes.

In a March 1 article, CLA spokeswoman Kelly OâÄôBrien told the Star Tribune that itâÄôs “too early” to comment on why the program may be getting the axe. While eliminating a program is a lengthy process, absurd and vague talking points like this donâÄôt explain anything. We deserve better.

If there is a line of reasoning behind this proposal, we should have heard it months ago. In seeking to control its reputation by restricting access to information, CLA has instead profoundly damaged that reputation.