To Calvin College

by Jonas Weaver

I get it.

We get it.

We’re aware that Calvin is in debt. And I am (at least) impressed with how much we’ve managed to reduce the debt in two years. None of us are urging Calvin to go further into debt.

We all get that there need to be cuts etc.

None of us, as far as I know, are denying these facts.

All that said, it sucks. As a double major in German and Philosophy, it sucks.

I’m literally embedded in the humanities and 3/4 of my classes occur in the same building. I’m lucky, on one hand, to be in the Philosophy Department because it’s basically safe from most cuts, if only because it has status within the world of Christian philosophy. But being in the German department is hard. Especially since we’re potentially losing the German major.

Plenty has been said about Calvin and its false advertising. When the art department faced cuts (alongside art history, history, and music) people pointed out that having a tab for ARTS on the Calvin homepage is disingenuous because, frankly, Calvin doesn’t care about the arts. Sure, we have the 106 Gallery, and the little gallery in the CFAC…but where is the Art Department? The basement of one of the buildings.

Now Calvin has proposed cutting the German, Greek, Latin, Theater, and Art History majors (and God knows what will happen to Chinese, Korean, and Japanese). Calvin is leaving the minors but…so what?

I’m keeping this fairly short and brief but it’s worth posing the following to the administration:

Are we a liberal arts school? It doesn’t seem like it. At least, on surface we are, we still have humanities degrees on offer. But in practice I find it difficult to see how Calvin gives a rip about us. Calvin cares about numbers, metrics, factoids, not about well-rounded creative thinkers. Why are there no cuts in the sciences? In the business department? In engineering? Because numbers. Because there are more students in those departments. It’s a question worth asking and right now we’re failing.

Calvin states this on its website:

The real result of a Calvin education is this: graduates who want to expand their capacity to care, to get involved in their churches and communities, and to love God with mind, heart and soul.

Is this still the goal?

Right now the answer seems to be a good ol’ West Michigan No. A No that’s too cowardly to just come right out and say that the humanities only matter in relation to the “practical” majors.