Lack of English majors is startling

By Tim Metzler

Online News Editor

This fall, English majors were welcomed back to campus with news that no freshmen had enrolled in the program. No writing majors, no literature majors, none at all. As a senior English major, I am deeply troubled to hear this kind of news, yet I am not surprised in any way. In fact, I’m shocked any of the humanities programs have even survived at Viterbo. Let me explain.

When I meet a new person on the Viterbo campus, it’s almost a guarantee that they are one of three types of majors: nursing, business, or fine arts. I’m merely generalizing these majors— and there are multiple focuses in each— but I’m sure you still understand my point.

Can you count how many English majors you know? How about philosophy majors? Math? History? Religious Studies? Here’s my point: All of these majors and more have a majority of their classes in Murphy Center or in a random room in another building.

Now, can you even contemplate how many nursing, business or fine arts majors you know on campus? Or, at least, know of? Compared to Liberal Arts majors, the difference is undoubtedly significant.

So, where am I going with this?

Let’s do a quick comparison. The English program has no scholarships. However, some job opportunities are available, yet they are not exclusive. Writing for Lumen and working for Touchstone are just a couple of ways a writer can survive on this campus. The other Liberal Arts majors can find their way into the Academic Resource Center to tutor. And, now, the other side.

The nursing majors find their home in a new, multi-million dollar building, which includes around a million dollars of just artwork. That’s right, just artwork. In addition to this, nursing majors enjoy a number of both endowed and annual scholarships.

The Dahl school of Business just spent thousands of dollars to have the Brophy building remodeled. I, for one, am glad, considering that the Brophy building has been around since the dawn of time, but the point remains that the program is housed in its own building, while also enjoying a program with fantastic internships and multiple scholarships.

The fine arts program, too, is going to have a new playground for practicing theatre, located on the riverfront. Was this building necessary? Unquestionably, yes. But by putting money in the theatre program, we are negating any argument about the humanities not guaranteeing jobs after graduation and therefore not meriting any need for extra finances. Sorry, fine arts majors, but you know this is true. Additionally, nearly every fine arts major has at least one scholarship.

Now, don’t misinterpret my reason for writing this article. I think all three of these types of majors are necessary. The nursing program is exceptional, like the business school, and both deserve quality environments to learn and practice their respective trade. Likewise, I have a deep respect for fine arts majors, and I am excited for the opportunity to watch my fellow V-Hawks performing in the new theatre, downtown.

However, when will students in the liberal arts have a similar opportunity to learn and grow? Is there any incentive for a freshman to come to this university for a humanities major, let alone stay more than a semester?

For all the millions of dollars this university spends on its largest and most celebrated majors, I think it’s time this university endows a mere fraction of a percentage to the programs that lack the funding to provide any additional monetary support to its majors.

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