To the Editor,

One thing to keep in mind is that when a decision as serious as eliminating a program is made, there is a reason behind it. It’s not simply about money. It has to do whether or not the program is vital to the institution’s mission, whether or not it has enough faculty and student support, and whether or not the courses it offers can be folded into other majors. While the people in WMST would like to martyr themselves and try to make it look like they’re being persecuted for their “beliefs,” it’s simply not the case.

Women’s Studies’ proponents make it seem as though UNLV cannot function without it, bringing into question the very credibility of any institution without Women’s Studies. Yet out of the approximately 2,500 accredited four year institutions in the country, only approximately 700 have Women’s or Gender Studies programs. A university without such a department is far from an anomaly. Nor is it stunted or backward, as related courses can be taught throughout the social sciences.

While the arguments to save Women’s Studies are emotionally charged and sure to get a reaction out of some, they lack very little in the way of substance.

However, the very politics which the department espouses are the reason why it’s so isolated from the campus, and local, communities.

There is a huge difference between teaching about social problems and their socio-economic origins, or current events, and pushing an activist agenda that reflects your own political views. A university professor should have the pedagogical skills and common sense to distinguish between making students aware of social problems and using class time as a soap box to promote their own activist agenda. Such an approach doesn’t raise students’ consciousness. It attracts a minority of students who share the professor’s views, but creates a siege mentality and pushes the majority away. Students learn critical thinking skills by being exposed to all sides of an argument and being taught to use various analytical methodologies to address it. Not by being bombarded by a professor’s personal political views. Then be told that they’re just being exposed to new ideas and if they don’t get it, they must somehow be the deficient party.

– Jan Oller, Ph.D.

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Featured Letters to the Editor run as originally posted and are only edited for length.