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Letter: Arts and humanities at MSUM have suffered under President Blackhurst's leadership

In particular, last year her administration carried out drastic cuts in these areas, with many layoffs and reduction of programs, particularly in philosophy: MSUM’s philosophy major was eliminated and two thirds of its faculty were given layoff notices. 

Letter to the editor FSA

Minnesota State University Moorhead President Anne Blackhurst’s announcement of the $4.3 million bequest from Thomas Von Bahr for arts and humanities in the Dec. 5th Forum is good news. Not mentioned is the serious erosion of the arts and humanities at MSUM that has occurred under her watch. In particular, last year her administration carried out drastic cuts in these areas, with many layoffs and reduction of programs, particularly in philosophy: MSUM’s philosophy major was eliminated and two thirds of its faculty were given layoff notices.

One of Von Bahr's wishes was for the bequest to fund scholarships for students majoring in the arts and humanities so that their studies might inspire them and transform their lives in the way they did Von Bahr’s. With the cuts and inevitable fewer course offerings, it will be difficult for students to pursue majors in these areas. And it will be impossible to major in philosophy, the subject Von Bahr particularly loved.

When he was a student Moorhead State College had a strong commitment to the arts and humanities that provided the opportunities that changed Von Bahr’s life. The current MSUM administration seems to lack a commitment to the arts and humanities. The liberal arts at MSUM have become, under the current administration, a shadow of what they were. MSUM is no longer an institution with strong programs in the arts and humanities to inspire and transform people like Thomas Von Bahr. And that is very sad news.

Mark Chekola lives in Moorhead.

This letter does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.

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