Re: “Universities’ images suffer as states cut back funding,” (TNT, 11/26).
As a former dean in private and public universities, I’m responding to this anti-university article originally published by the Washington Post.
The state representative quoted in the story thinks shooting a rattlesnake at 20 feet is a skill superior to those acquired at universities. I learned to shoot other beings with great accuracy when I was 11. It was, however, at the university that I learned why doing so might disrupt a delicately balanced ecosystem.
Yes, we expect college-educated people to understand the environmental, social, political and psychological implications of human actions, such as destroying the homelands of others to help wealthy entrepreneurs, like the Koch brothers, become wealthier.
Yes, we expect college-educated people to understand logic, philosophical/ideological arguments, the U.S. constitution, political party platforms, and the workings of the legal and political systems.
Such an education enables one to challenge those in authority who choose to remain ignorant or act strictly according to immediate self-interest. An informed challenge of authority is what our country and constitution were founded upon.
When the above information and skills are lacking, our freedoms and well-being as a nation are at risk. We must fully fund our universities.