By Luke Lawal Jr.

Howard’s famous alums include Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, actor Ossie Davis and black radical Stokely Carmichael. The university was founded just after the end of the Civil War. It started as a seminary for African-American clergymen. Today, it has 171 academic majors. That’s a huge number for a university with only around 10,500 students. Howard graduates more black doctors, engineers and Ph.D.s than virtually any other institution of higher learning in the country, even though just 10 percent of black students currently attend a Historically Black College. But like many universities, Howard’s endowment has shrunk in recent years. While President Ribeau insists these changes aren’t driven by finances, he says that to remain competitive, Howard must shift resources to where they are needed most.

The plan is to cut 20 undergraduate degree programs and at least as many graduate programs, some have already been cut and some are in the process, few include:

  • German Studies
  • The Classics Studies
  • Philosophy
  • African Studies Majors
  • Fashion Merchandising
  • Dance Majors

Dr. RIBEAU States and I quote: “And it will also allow us to enhance the overall quality of our academic programs so that we’re sure that we’re nationally competitive”

Students will still be able to take courses such as African-American Philosophy and Slavery in the Ancient World, but that doesn’t satisfy the university’s critics. They say a premier black college like Howard plays a special role. For example, Howard has one of the only freestanding philosophy departments at a Historically Black College. So critics argue a cut there would be a big loss.

As well as Fashion merchandising, the study of all aspects of the business of marketing and distributing clothing and accessories to wholesale and retail outlets. More often offered as a twoyear associate degree program, it is available at a few four-year institutions and may lead to a bachelor of professional studies degree. As a four-year offering, the major requires course work in fashion design. The field can be considered a highly competitive one, with many young people seeking this area as a glamorous career.


A Howard University Sophomore Student ASKS…

My major dept is being cut from the university. Should I transfer?
I am a sophomore honors student at Howard University. Recently, my university has decided to refocus resources to science and math departments and through a set of mergers and program cuts, to slash resources to the college of arts and sciences. Specifically for me, there is a proposal on the books which would collapse and absorb the Classics department into a new offering called “Philosophy, Classical Civilization and Religion.” I’m not sure if this plan will be retroactive, but I don’t like the sound of it.

In addition to that, I feel like Howard is the wrong fit because I only feel engaged intellectually, politically, and spiritually when I am with professors or in the classroom. I have participated in several organizations including the arts and sciences student council, the debate team, and the Classics undergraduate society, but I’m still not getting what I expected as far as the experiences I’ve had here and the people I’ve met.

Again, I’m in the honors program and I have a 3.8 gpa. Would it be worth starting over to find a school with people who share my interests and goals and one with a stronger commitment to a liberal education? Any suggestions for schools with strong Classics departments? I’m thinking about Harvard, Penn, NYU, Columbia, and UVA.


By Luke Lawal Jr.

Video By HBCUbuzz Staff

P.S. I want to hear from EVERYONE on this issue. I want to read students perspectives on this issue, not only Howard Students, but anyone affected by these actions.

  1. Is this a good start for HBCU’s?
  2. Do you support Howard’s actions?
  3. Do you feel the president is thinking selfishly trying to change things just to stay competitive?
  4. Has this remotely affected you in any way?
  • Comment Here Below
  • Send a Letter to the president himself at Dr. Sidney Ribeau President Howard University 2400 6th Street NW Washington, DC 20059



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