April 20, 2021

"The removal of the classics is a sign that we, as a culture, have embraced from the youngest age utilitarian schooling at the expense of soul-forming education."

"To end this spiritual catastrophe, we must restore true education, mobilizing all of the intellectual and moral resources we can to create human beings of courage, vision and civic virtue. Students must be challenged: Can they face texts from the greatest thinkers that force them to radically call into question their presuppositions? Can they come to terms with the antecedent conditions and circumstances they live in but didn’t create? Can they confront the fact that human existence is not easily divided into good and evil, but filled with complexity, nuance and ambiguity? This classical approach is united to the Black experience. It recognizes that the end and aim of education is really the anthem of Black people, which is to lift every voice. That means to find your voice, not an echo or an imitation of others. But you can’t find your voice without being grounded in tradition, grounded in legacies, grounded in heritages."

Write Cornel West and Jeremy Tate in "Howard University’s removal of classics is a spiritual catastrophe" (WaPo). 


I know a lot of institutions are closing programs now, but it isn't a value judgement as much as it is an acknowledgement of no students enrolled. Looking at the federal government numbers for 2019, 2018, and 2017, no bachelor's degrees were awarded in classics at Howard University. In 2016 and 2015, only 1 degree each year was awarded. There are so few graduates in classics at most schools, I can't find any earnings data on the college scorecard site. It really doesn't make business sense to keep a program open when students don't want to enroll.