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It was an easy decision, but it was not the right one | OP-ED

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Response to Ohio University

Dear Ohio University,

Your decision to gut the African American Studies Department and reduce the Women’s Studies Department was seemingly an easy decision for those involved. Yet, it was not the right decision. 

It is markedly clear that you all place no value in these departments. Moreover, it crystallizes the business aspect in higher “education.” In that, the main objective is to push students out as sheep-like automatons from a breeding ground, designed to find any job to pour into an economy obsessed with capitalistic greed.

Ohio University Mission Statement:

“Ohio University will be the nation’s best transformative learning community where students realize their promise, faculty advance knowledge, staff achieve excellence, and alumni become global leaders.

Higher learning should be a catalyst that instills a macro world view to students or as the mission statement says, ” global leaders.” Everyone wants to go to college so that they can get a job ” making money, “ yet, society does not invest in nurturing the humanities. Sadly, Higher-Ed is not the domain to become a better human being and learn critical thinking skills.

We live in a world where higher education and businesses no longer value humanities, our artists and thinkers. It is our humanities and “soft sciences” that give depth to us mutually as human beings; and specifically, to those of us who’ve had our history ripped from us. All the fighting my ancestors had to do to get programs like these implemented and at the FIRST opportunity, you downsize these programs.

Ohio University was the first of its kind to implement the African American Studies program and now you practically demolish their existence. Ohio University succumbs to this?  Your demotion of these programs signifies ignoring the roots of why those programs were introduced in the first place. This decision ultimately says: you do not value women and people of color.

The African American Studies and Women’s Studies programs are what is left to give close minded people the opportunity to learn about those who are different from themselves and their environment.  As an African American woman having lived in Athens, Ohio for four years as an undergrad; you and I BOTH KNOW the type of mentality and limited exposure that residents and neighboring communities encompass. These programs are what cultivate us to understand overlooked communities with the hope and aim to incorporate thoughtful individuals back into our society, which make up the collective.

Your decision reflects the current state of society, but not the best part of our society.  The type of thinking that led to this decision is rooted in systemic racism, sexism, entitlement, elitism, and white privilege. It is a lapsed opportunity in judgment and for progressive reform and restructuring. Instead, Ohio University is leaning into the continuing erasure of our humanity.

Ms. Candace M. Goggans

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