The Pulse

Hundreds tell Gov. McCrory to “respect” liberal arts education

By: - February 1, 2013 10:29 am

mccrory-121cGovernor Pat McCrory is finding little support for comments he made earlier this week that the basic funding formula for higher-education should be based on how well universities do in placing students in the world of work.

McCrory told a national audience on Bill Bennett’s “Morning in America” show Tuesday:

“I think some of the educational elite have taken over our education where we are offering courses that have no chance of getting people jobs…”

“….if you want to take gender studies, go to a private school and take it. But I don’t want to subsidize that if it’s not going to get someone a job.”

That kicked off a petition drive by a Ph.D. student at UNC who has collected more than 1,600 signatures (as of this writing), telling Governor McCrory to give UNC’s liberal arts program “the respect it deserves and keep your politics out of it.”

Here’s a sampling of the comments accompanying the petition:

‘Reading, writing and upper level thinking skills comprise the backbone of an education. Please do not remove the backbone of our future, or else we’re just a societal pile of mush.’ –  Marissa E., Carrboro, NC

‘How did NC elect a Governor who does not understand the relationship between the humanities in higher education to the creation of a good society filled with creative minds?’ – Robert S., Carolina Beach, NC

‘Dear Gov McCrory: After studying a liberal arts curriculum at UNC, I have enjoyed a 30-year (and counting) journalism career. I was California Newspaper Executive of the Year in 2002, share a Pulitzer Prize with staff members at the Miami Herald, and many other awards. My liberal arts education at UNC-Chapel Hill was second to none. I’m confused by your recent comments that people who study liberal arts “have no chance of getting … jobs.” North Carolina universities used to be among the best in the nation. It takes a well-rounded curriculum to produce a well-rounded education.’ – Tracie C., Fresno, CA

‘Even though I am a science major, I have found the diversity of interests at UNC has allowed me to meet all sorts of people that I never would have met if I went to a school much more focused on science. I enjoy conversations with people who have very different interests than I do. They have bright futures ahead of them, and we need to continue to have a diversity of interests at UNC.’ – Ilona F., Chapel Hill, NCUNC petition

‘Shocked and disappointed by Gov. McCrory taking such a ridiculous and ill-informed stance. Yes, we need job training and yes, we need to support community colleges, but not at the expense of UNC liberal arts programs.’ – Lori C.,  Chapel Hill, NC

‘Instead of pseudo intellectual politicians preaching on education perhaps they can move their cronies in the corporate sector to actually hire the legions of graduates from our already existent and successful community college system instead of outsourcing jobs to maximize profits.’ – Charles S., Charlotte, NC

‘My knowledge of Shakespeare, U.S. and World History, Philosophy, German, Spanish, Health, Geology, Art, Sociology, Computer Science, Economics, Psychology and yes even the detestable math classes I was forced to take to complete my liberal arts education all make me the twice nationally certified teacher of the year that I am.’ – Kirsten V., Chapel Hill, NC

‘Could it be possible for McCrory to consider his own life without the arts before he tries to take a similar experience away from thousands of children and adolescents?’ –  Jamie G., Clemmons, NC

‘I am a former member of the faculty and administrator in the NC Community College system. Liberal education DOES prepare students for jobs, Governor!’ – Patricia S., Lexington, NC

‘Liberal arts develops critical thinking skills – sorely needed in our political system.’ –  Marty Monroe, Tallahassee, FL

Copies of the petition will be delivered to Governor McCrory, UNC System President Thomas Ross as well as the North Carolina State House and North Carolina State Senate.

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Clayton Henkel
Clayton Henkel

Communications Coordinator Clayton Henkel manages the NC Newsline website and daily newsletter, while also producing daily audio commentaries and the weekly News and Views radio program/podcast.