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College is a place where students can explore and find purpose in life. So, why should anyone limit that opportunity?

Every program has value

Money holds a massive influence over the construction of universities across the nation, including UH Mānoa. Universities are removing non-STEM and humanities majors from their programs because these fields are not as economically advantageous and

“Job-friendly,” according to the New York Times.

State leaders argue that American tax dollars should not go towards students who are majoring in programs that will likely lead to being unemployed and/or will earn less than a high school student with vocational skills.

Rather than removing these foundational programs from universities, expanding the job market to accommodate the non-STEM and humanity graduates will boost the economy, according to an article by The Atlantic. Humanities and non-STEM programs should be more valued than they are because these programs teach and encourage students to have self-confidence, an analytical mindset and social perceptiveness; all things that are essential to any work environment.

Non-STEM and humanities programs are not the reason why the economy is down spiraling. The economy is failing because we are neglecting to acknowledge the potential that these majors have to offer.

Jeopardizing our future

With the ongoing pandemic happening in this world, colleges and universities across the nation are eager to cut non-STEM and humanities majors, including UH Mānoa. Attempting to do so can take a toll on a student’s education.

Not only are students upset due to the removal of their program, but it could also affect universities from staying connected and remaining in touch with students.

It will lose a generation of bright students who could become preoccupied in STEM studies and end up not fulfilling their dreams.

“I would feel regretful and down because this is something you’d worked hard for to reach and suddenly it’s just gone,” a UH student said.

Another student says, “Cutting out a program makes you feel unmotivated because your plans for the future would be ruined. You’ll feel helpless and possibly not know how your future will go.”

However, the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa assured their students that changes could take time, and they are certain that students will be able to graduate before a degree program is terminated.

Each program is unique in their ways and regardless of each students’ career path, their knowledge is critical to be successful.

In addition to interviewing students from their standpoints, we also looked at the benefits of non-STEM programs. These programs include language classes, arts, acting, cultural studies and many more.

These programs help with the creative aspects of human life and we view these in everyday life.

If we were to cut non-STEM programs we would no longer have people who can continue making our favorite shows and music. There would be a lack of communication between people of different countries and an understanding of other languages and cultures.

The University of Hawai’i offers a rare opportunity of learning the culture, as well as the language of the indigenous people of Hawai’i. This major not only brings awareness of their surroundings but it also helps native Hawaiians learn for possibly the first time where their ancestors came from and how they communicated with each other.

If it were not for non-STEM majors a lot of people would be lost and confused about what to do with their lives and what to major in. Thus it is essential to keep non-STEM majors. 

Taking action

To aid in this situation, students must use their voices.

Many colleges within universities are requesting that students write testimonies to submit to their Board of Regents expressing their concerns in regards to universities cutting these programs.

At UH Mānoa, when students and facilities learned that due to budget cuts the Ethnic Studies program might combine with the Interdisciplinary Studies program, a call-to-action was sent out asking students for their help.

Students were asked to write to the Board of Regents to oppose the proposed plan.

Students were requested to write about how the program impacted them and their community. In addition to writing about the impact the program has had, students were encouraged to ask the Mānoa Budget Team to provide evidence that shows downsizing the Ethnic Studies Department will lead to immediate projected savings.

The department wanted students to demand that the administration stop targeting their academics and point out that by pursuing these types of budget cuts there could be a decrease in majors along with the weakening of programs. 

With a voice, anything is possible

After students created their testimonies they submitted them and, soon enough, the Ethnic Studies Department was taken out of the proposed budget cut plan.

These are all things you can do as well if your school is facing a similar fate. Send out emails, find other peers who have similar feelings as you, and get to work!