Cornel West calls on Howard University to shut down classics department as spiritual disaster


Cornel West calls on Howard University to shut down classics department in spiritual disaster Photo: Political activist Cornel West speaks at a campaign rally for Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders, I- Vt., In Detroit, March 6, 2020 (AP Photo / Paul Sancya)

Howard University recently announced plans to dissolve its department of classics – the only such offering at any historically black college or university (HBCU) in the country, according to the nonprofit Society for Classical Studies, a scholarly organization. American devoted to all aspects of Greek and the Roman language. civilization.

Howard “is currently in negotiations with the Faculty of Classical Sciences and with other units at the College on how they could best reposition and reuse our programs and staff.” These discussions have been cordial and the faculty is hopeful that the department can remain intact on some level, with its faculty and programs still in place, ”according to an April 16 statement from the Board of Trustees of the Society for Classical Studies, Inside Report on higher education.

All of this is not going well with Dr. Cornel West, professor of practice in public philosophy at Harvard University and professor emeritus at Princeton University. West spoke about the disbandment of Howard’s Classics Department in a recently published Washington Post op-ed with Jeremy Tate, the founder and CEO of Classic Learning Tes.,

West and Tate described Howard’s decision as a “spiritual catastrophe.”

In the editorial, they discussed how slave Frederick Douglass risked abuse, beatings, and even death to learn to read and study the classical works of Socrates, Cato, and Cicero.

“Long after Douglass’ encounters with these ancient thinkers, Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. would also be galvanized by his reading of the classics as a young seminarian – he mentions Socrates three times in his’ Letter from Birmingham Prison ‘ from 1963, ”West and Tate wrote.

They berated Howard University, writing: “Yet today one of America’s greatest black institutions, Howard University, dims the light of wisdom and truth that inspired Douglass, King and countless other freedom fighters. In the midst of a movement to “prioritize” education, Howard University is dissolving its department of classics.

Lots of social media thought West should fight for things “more important” than the “white” classics.

“Go beyond Cornel West.” No one talks about the white “classics”. We should have killed them a long time ago, ”ghetto scholar @kzshabazz tweeted.

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Dave Jackson @ attydavejackson agreed, “Cornel has to take this position. Much of what he knows. The classics make it “special” for wyt america. He won’t come to Howard to teach the classics or anything. What have the classics done to advance our people? I’ll wait. F the classics. Much more important work to do. “

Ghetto Intellectual also noted how West rejected HBCUs in the past. “Yes. I remember he said the HBCU couldn’t pay him what he was worth. SMH”

Igbo Mother of African Warriors @EmpressAdaeze tweeted an appeal to Dr West: “You really don’t need to educate white people on the system they’ve built. None of them ignore it. Even the “poor”. It’s a distraction, save all your teaching energy for us. “

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