- Trustees of Marymount University, a Catholic liberal arts school in Virginia, voted to reject nine races.
- Some of the majors that will no longer exist include English, math, and theology.
- One student told Insider that the university is ignoring student concerns about the decision.
a little liberal arts college in northern Virginia is facing scrutiny from students and faculty alike after announcing that it will remove nine common majors from its offerings in an effort to better prepare students for “in-demand careers.”
The trustees of Marymount University voted unanimously last month to remove nine undergraduate majors and a graduate program from the Catholic University offering. Affected subjects include Degree in English, history, mathematics, art, economics, philosophy, secondary education, sociology and theology, and religious studies, a spokesperson for the university told Insider in an email.
Nicholas Munson, director of communications for Marymount University, said the board’s 20-0 vote was overturned by “definitive research” that found all majors had consistently low enrollment and graduation rates among students.
There are 74 students in the 10 programs, 22 of whom will graduate in May, Munson said. Current students majoring in subjects will be grandfathered and allowed to graduate with their chosen degree and courses from the cutoff majors, particularly in humanitiesit will also continue to be part of the core curriculum at the school, Munson added.
According to Marymount’s enrollment numbers shared with Insider, none of the majors currently have more than 15 students enrolled, and at least two (theology majors and secondary education) have zero students. The university enrolls about 4,000 students at its Arlington campus.
But despite low enrollment numbers among majors, students at the university have so far responded with outrage and anger over the cuts, which sophomore Grace Kapacs said are antithetical to the school’s founding mission as religious institution and liberal arts college.
“No one seems to be happy or content with the decision,” Kapacs, a 19-year-old communications student who helped spearhead an opposition campaign of protests and social media activism, told Insider. “No one had alluded to the fact that we would be cutting something as big as the big ones.”
Faculty, alumni and students, ranging from conservative republicans to liberal democrats and anarchists, Kapacs said, protested outside the Feb. 24 board meeting in hopes of swaying the decision. Kapacs said that while it was unclear whether or not the protest convinced university leaders, it was important to get its message across.
And while many of the protesting students will be able to complete their studies, the concern is about what lies ahead, Kapacs said.
“They’re more worried about the future and what it’s going to look like… It’s also their legacy,” Kapacs said.
Kapacs said most of the campus community didn’t find out about the proposed losses until a week before the board made its final decision, and students are frustrated by the lack of clarity about where all the money will go for all the lost runs.
Munson said the changes to the school’s offerings are not “financially driven, but the university plans to reallocate resources from the cut programs to others that “better serve our students and reflect their interests,” though he did not provide details. about where exactly the newly discovered money would go.
In Kapacs’ opinion, students and faculty don’t feel their concerns are being heard and, as a result, the campus community has changed dramatically. Kapacs described it as a “negativity on the air”.
In a campus-wide message obtained by Insider, the university’s chancellor, Irma Becerra, assured students that despite the changes, the university was acting in the best interest of students.
“We are not removing the humanities or social sciences from our curriculum, nor are we turning our backs on our Catholic traditions,” Becerra said in the nearly eight-minute message. “Just the opposite.”
Becerra also predicted that other liberal arts colleges like Marymount would make the same “tough decisions” in the future. In recent years, the decline in liberal arts majors has become a matter of concern, as the number of students graduating nationally with liberal arts degrees it is in decline.
However, for students like Kapacs, these majors are worth saving.
“When you have someone specializing in something, they’re passionate about it, they love it,” Kapacs said. “You never want to say goodbye to something you love.”