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Is There a Reason to Worry About Liberal Arts Under a Donald Trump Presidency?

Is There a Reason to Worry About Liberal Arts Under a Donald Trump Presidency?

While many people have been recently concerned about how President-elect Donald Trump will impact science education given the fact that he continues to support climate change denial, liberal arts supporters are also concerned given comments Trump’s campaign made early-on in his journey to be president.

In May, the Trump campaign's national co-chair and policy director Sam Clovis made some disparaging comments about what might happen to liberal arts according to Trump’s vision.

”... if you choose to major in the liberal arts, there are issues associated with that,” Clovis said.

For that reason, Clovis told Inside Higher Ed that Trump will make it "harder for those wanting to major in the liberal arts at non-elite institutions to obtain loans.”

"If you are going to study 16th century French art, more power to you. I support the arts ... But you are not going to get a job,” he said.

Except, Clovis made sure to note, if you attend an Ivy League university or college like Harvard because you have already gotten “in the door.”

These comments enraged liberal arts majors and created concern that liberal arts departments might be disbanded or further pushed aside during an already-prominent shift towards STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education.

But since Clovis made the comments in May, little has been said to indicate Trump has any plans to follow-up on capping student loans for liberal arts majors.

Instead, Trump is predominantly focused on seeing through his central education policy issue— school choice. After unveiling a $20 billion school choice proposal in September, Trump’s appointment of long-time school choice supporter Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary solidifies where his education policy efforts lie.

Plus, these wouldn’t be the first series of comments Trump made during his campaign and then chose not to follow-up on.

Even earlier in his campaign, Trump said he would abolish gun-free zones in schools on his very first day in office. When confronted about his comments later, Trump back-tracked and it seemed clear that such an executive order would not be made.

What do YOU think? Do liberal arts supporters have a reason to be concerned? Take our poll below.

Nicole Gorman, Senior Education World Contributor

12/5/2016

Do liberal arts supporters have a reason to be concerned?

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