Miami University of Ohio has announced it’s cutting a number of low enrollment majors, including women, gender and sexuality studies and race and ethnic studies.
The announcement comes as the university cuts 18 majors total, citing low enrollment and telling the departments and professors to figure out a way to merge with other departments in the humanities if they wish to stay employed, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.
The Miami Student, the college’s student newspaper, featured a photo of a professor teaching in front of a presentation of a positive image of Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution, as it reported on the program cuts.
The photo of Castro includes a quote from the Cuban dictator denouncing both prison and tyrants.
In June 1963, Time Magazine estimated that one out of every 94 Cubans was a prisoner in Castro’s penal system.
“Miami University is facing unprecedented fiscal, societal and political challenges that are prompting very difficult decisions about our curriculum,” said a document sent to teachers announcing the changes, according to The Student. “Tragically, we no longer have the resources to support the current portfolio of academic programs, particularly our lowest-enrolled degree programs or majors.”
The news comes after the University of West Virginia (WVU) announced cuts to 32 majors in August, including the elimination of the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies.
“The unit was placed under review due to enrollment declines, an increase in faculty, and
a below median ratio of faculty-to-program majors,” said the review notification to the department.
WVU will still offer a degree program in women and gender studies, but it will operate under the Department of Anthropology, said the university.
The center did not request an appeal to the recommendation, according to documents supplied by the university.
Overall “the [WVU] cuts would affect 147 undergraduates and 287 graduate students, and would result in as many as 169 faculty-line reductions,” said the Chronicle of Higher Education.
The faculty-to-student ratio of 2.6-to-1 demonstrates what a drain the majors have been on the financial resources of the public university.
By contrast, the Morgantown, West Virginia campus of WVU offers an 18-to-1 student faculty ratio for its bachelor’s degree programs, according to the university.
At Miami of Ohio, cuts will include Latin American studies, American studies, art history, classical studies, French, French education, German, German education, health communication, health information technology, Italian studies, Latin education, religion, Russian, East European and Eurasian studies, Spanish education and social justice, in addition to gender studies and CRT studies, said The Miami Student.
The Student also reported that the five-year average annual number of graduates in CRT studies was just 2.6 students, as of June 23.
The number of annual graduates in women and gender studies was not reported, because at the time of publication, that program was not on the list of programs facing cuts.
“I know they were trying to put a positive spin on it,” Deborah Lyons, an associate professor in the Department of French, Italian, and Classical Studies, told The Student, “but I think it’s really important to recognize that this is absolutely heartbreaking for those of us who dedicated our lives studying these areas.”
Part of the societal changes causing the cuts, cited by the university, include declining enrollment amongst colleges and universities in the U.S., where 44 states saw a decline in between 2010 and 2019, according to EdSmart, an education media publication.