Fri 16 Nov 2012
“If the Arts were to be consigned to oblivion, it would be sadder than if the sun were taken from the world.”
– Philipp Melanchthon –
The best Christian thinking has always placed a high value on the Arts, and the study of philosophy, literature, logic, history, languages, and the like. Such studies open our eyes to more fully understand the human condition. They teach us to critically approach the ideologies of our time, to hold counsel with those who have gone before us, to know and appreciate beauty, to understand the evil which has followed humankind throughout its long history, to live ethically, and to do so many other various and wonderful things. In short, the Arts provide us a framework for understanding the creation and our place in it.
No wonder Martin Luther desired “that there be as many poets and rhetoricians as possible,” urging “young people to study poetry and rhetoric.” The reason is clear: “I see that by these studies, as by no other means,” he writes, “people are wonderfully fitted for grasping sacred truth and for handling it skillfully and effectively.” The Arts teach us how to think. And so we see Melanchthon is right to say the Arts’ demise would be sadder than the extinguishing of the sun; as the sun illuminates our world, so too the Arts illuminate our minds. Without them, we sit in darkness.
You can understand, therefore, that I was disgusted when I learned yesterday that the University of Regina (my alma mater) is, in its great wisdom, driving the Faculty of Arts into the ground. In particular, the English department has faced numerous cuts over the past four years, and the word is out that they should prepare for even greater cuts in the future. Professors are retiring and no funds are being alloted to replace them. Whatever “fat” there was in the department was trimmed long ago, and now the department is being forced to consider cutting core classes to fit the budget. Things look bleak.
Catch up on the story at the following links. And then, contact the UofR to let them know you disapprove of further, debilitating cuts to the Arts (especially English). I suggest sending your letter of discontent directly to President Vianne Timmons: The.President@uregina.ca.
“Is this a dagger which I see before me?” – The Carillon
“Profs, students at U of R brace for possible cuts” – The Leader-Post
“Talk is cheap” – The Carillon
Note: Draw attention to the crisis with a Facebook-ready “cover image” of the “Realize: Reading and writing don’t matter” banner by clicking here.