Some students and faculty at Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia, are speaking out against proposed cuts to nine majors and one graduate program.
The cuts, which will be voted on by the school’s board of trustees on Friday, are in areas such as humanities, English, math and theology. The degree program cuts were first reported by ARLNow.
Director of Marymount’s School of Humanities Ariane Economos said the school is moving forward with the cuts despite an alternate plan approved by the faculty council, which she said would cut costs without slashing the programs. Economos said if the cuts go through, it will be harmful for the institution.
“We have data that shows that students choose to come to Marymount for those majors and that they would not retain and they would not consider Marymount if we didn’t have those majors,” Economos said.
In a statement sent to WTOP, the school said the changes are not financially driven, but instead would allow for investing in programs that give the school a competitive advantage.
“Marymount is indeed making changes to better position the University for long-term growth and success,” the statement said.
The school said they cut the degrees and programs due to low enrollment numbers and graduation rates.
Economos said all the majors on the chopping block are not seeing low enrollment numbers.
“Almost every class, except for maybe one upper-level class per semester, has 20 to 30 students in it and for Marymount, that’s a full class,” Economos said.
The university said there is a plan to allow students in affected programs to finish out their degrees.
“While these subjects will no longer be offered as majors, the coursework — particularly in the humanities — is central to our mission and identity as a Catholic university and will remain part of Marymount’s core curriculum,” the school said.
An online petition calling on the school to save the humanities majors has received more than 1,500 signatures. Economos said students upset with the proposed cuts also intend to protest at the school on Friday.
Economos said the changes, if approved, would go against the school’s promise of being a comprehensive Catholic university with a foundation in the liberal arts. The university disagreed, saying the school’s mission is “unchanged.”