To be or not to be liberal arts

(Emma Carter / McDaniel Free Press).(Emma Carter / McDaniel Free Press).

McDaniel students have the opportunity of choosing from a wide pool of different majors–a big reason why many students come to the Hill.

Majors include offerings of business administration, cinema, German, kinesiology, music, sociology, theater arts, social work, and more.

But it has been revealed that future McDaniel students may be losing the opportunity that was once given to us. The rumor of McDaniel taking away funding from different departments has been confirmed as the truth and it appears that arts departments are facing the most danger.

I am a double major in theater and communication with a Spanish minor. So as one can imagine, regardless of the time expansion that will probably be needed for this process to be fully carried out, I was not happy about this news at all.

Although I knew my feelings towards the matter, I wanted to see what a couple of other people, who had prior knowledge, had to say about what was taking place.  

“I am pretty angry,” said sophomore theater arts and history double major Matthew Foley. “If McDaniel is a liberal arts college, then why do they want to cut the arts?”

This response is what inspired the title for this article and what led me to then ask myself if McDaniel could still be the great liberal arts college that it has become if it goes through with the process of ridding itself of departments like theater arts and music.

According to U.S News & World Report, theater arts and music do not fall under the top five majors that students graduate from McDaniel with, potentially creating the argument that departments like theater arts and music are not that important. But that’s not true.

“Music has an impact on our lives,” said sophomore Miriam Stewart, a music major. “It’s therapeutic and even inspires us to pursue other studies when in grad school. For example, a McDaniel alumnus said that being a music major inspired them to go to [medical] school and become a doctor.” 

In the summer of 2017 as an incoming freshman at McDaniel, I knew I wanted to major in theater arts. My mom was not too excited to hear this. But my adviser helped my case when she provided the commentary that a friend of hers who also majored in theater while in college received a job as a journalist. This was due to the simple fact that her superiors knew that she had a different way of thinking due to her degree in theater.  

Like many other schools, the plays that this institution puts on welcome the greater McDaniel and Westminster communities, similar to the environment fostered by sports on the Hill.

“If departments are cut that are really invested in linking the college and the community,” said a professor that would like to remain anonymous. “It will be alienating.” 

Some may say these wild statements do not provide any help towards the decision that the school must make for financial reasons.

“McDaniel College faculty should try to sit in on some classes with the departments that might lose funding,” said Stewart, “that way they can see what our major means to us and what we give back to the community around us.” 

The only thing we can do now is wait and see what decision this liberal arts college will make.