Howard University To Shut Down Classical Studies Department | Morning Joe | MSNBC

Howard University To Shut Down Classical Studies Department | Morning Joe | MSNBC 1


Howard University announced in April it is dissolving its classics department. Professor Cornel West and Jeremy Tate have penned a new Washington Post column about the university's decision. Tate along with Professor Eddie Glaude Jr. join Morning Joe to discuss the issue. Aired on 04/20/2021.
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Howard University To Shut Down Classical Studies Department | Morning Joe | MSNBC

87 Comments on "Howard University To Shut Down Classical Studies Department | Morning Joe | MSNBC"

  1. Sionnach MacBradaigh | April 20, 2021 at 9:16 AM | Reply

    This is not uncommon for Universities today. Everything has become about the market and the corporatisation of academics. This is a disaster for those who belive in the liberal arts as the backbone of University education.

    • Christine King | April 20, 2021 at 3:09 PM | Reply

      @cyberash3000 Indeed, that is ideal.

    • @omi god Latine autem non docet nos ad obiecta repagula traxit scriptor

    • Faithless Hound | April 20, 2021 at 7:06 PM | Reply

      @Christine King It’s a lot worse than it appears, since free education in American schools only goes as far as a 16 year old would get in a European school. Freshmen and sophomores in a US college pay through the nose for what they should already know. However those intending to go into a trade in Europe usually come off the academic track by 16 anyway.

    • Barbara Jolley | April 20, 2021 at 8:40 PM | Reply

      @Ziploc Shakesepare read the Classics like all Renaissance literary people. He wrote historical plays based on the Classic (Julius Caesar anyone?)

    • jerome dupree | April 20, 2021 at 9:52 PM | Reply

      Replace the classics with coloring books so the low IQs can participate.

  2. Sionnach MacBradaigh | April 20, 2021 at 9:19 AM | Reply

    Also this is what happens when you make corporate figures University presidents.

    • I’m not sure what went wrong at Howard, but this is a warning to other colleges. Professors need to do a better job at tying the classics to modern times and showing the relevancy of it in any era.

    • @Linda L IT isn’t the fault (alone) of professors; it is the fault of college administrators. How much do university presidents “earn”?

      When one graduated law school during the 1950s, one had learned where the law “had come from” — e.g., the legal history. Today the focus is on “good law,” untethered from the history. History is a rudder; without it one is floating blind and in the dark.

    • No, this is what happens when you mismanage university resources.

    • Norcarr Lane | April 20, 2021 at 3:37 PM | Reply

      Of Course. Did you know that Corporate Oinkers children get straight “A” GPA and they don’t even study.

    • Nicholaus Buthmann | April 20, 2021 at 7:37 PM | Reply

      Indeed, that’s likely why Harvard doesn’t want to give Cornel West the tenure he so richly deserves and has rightfully earned !

  3. This is what happens when we live in a society that values productivity over the arts.

    • @Jimmy Wang at the moment im in an art university.

    • Jim McLoughlin | April 20, 2021 at 4:17 PM | Reply

      @Sarosh Khan I am sure you understand all that and are happy with it. For me something more relevant are the works of John Steinbeck which should be compulsorily taught in modern America.

    • Black Lies Matter | April 20, 2021 at 6:36 PM | Reply

      @bianca Our artists are all complete morons who produce nothing of value.

    • @DAYBROK3 When I look up and see an airbus flying overhead, I can think to myself I had a hand in that. Dunno what you can look up to.

    • @Jim McLoughlin Why allow the winter of our discontent to create a dubious battle of words between mice and men as the grapes of wrath could beset upon us just East of eden when we could all share from the cup of gold while traveling in the long valley that will eventually take us from the forgotten village to the sea of Cortez even as the moon goes down and the bombs are away while the pearl shines in the light that burns bright every day, including on the sweetest of Thursdays?

      Instead, let the amazing works of Steinbeck be a beacon to all people’s around the world during high school, the formative years where accessible, powerful, and vivid writing such as his rightly belong.

  4. “We must believe in a future when color of skin is no more significant than color of hair”. – Sam Harris

    Race is a human social construct. We made it. We can unmake by not giving it oxygen. Nothing is sadder than humans who view others via the distorted lens of race.

    • BlueBaron3339 | April 20, 2021 at 1:00 PM | Reply

      @Rick Simon Why? He’s among our most distinguished public intellectuals. The whole racist label was a false flag campaign, in my view, promoted largely by Ezra Klein to suit his own purposes.

    • Racism rather is a human construct. Racism is a modern sickness that was concocted 500 years ago as a result of slavery. The Greek classics actually credited a lot of their knowledge to Africa. The problem is we tend to study the classics without any acknowledgment to those the classics were indebted to — all because of the modern sickness of racism.

    • @Najee T Its the term I use so people understand what I’m talking about but obviously people who know more about it are going to shun it as you did. There’s a much larger problem in the USA then higher education “black research schools” needing to exist or still existing though so the argument I was making is irrelevant. The economic gap has lead to a gap in access to proper education which is fueling an epidemic of uneducated or poorly educated people in the country. And statistically that gap affects blacks way more….. and not surprisingly a larger portion of blacks are well….not as educated. Then our toxic culture of social media and other stuff has caused many of our young to just not take education seriously. A huge problem. Poor parenting etc. Tons of problems here. The saddest part is that even though blacks are disproportionately affected, whites tend to be the cause of more problems in America at least in my opinion. Look at the Trump supporters for example. Which points at problems like toxic social media and poor education yet again. Consumerism in general has lead the USA to become a nation of idiots while black people and other minorities just suffer and take the bad end of the stick. Sad. And you probably knew all of this but my dumb comment with reverse racism just got your attention. I’m sure you can understand, we really shouldn’t need black schools or even have them. Just schools and schools that teach black studies or whatever to all.

    • Stuart k. Nelson | April 20, 2021 at 2:44 PM | Reply

      I lost respect for howard university a long time ago- after what they did against our, HONORABLE, LEGENDARY, DR. FRANCES CRESS WELSING!

    • Jim McLoughlin | April 20, 2021 at 4:29 PM | Reply

      @omi god Ever heard of the food chain because that is what your analogy is. Herd animals, which is what humans are, do not see color.

  5. This is what happens when university education becomes just an alternative vocational training program.

    • Not really. It just means the course sucks enough the university decided to get rid of it. What were the enrollment numbers for the course? I bet they were low enough to drop it.

    • @Gabe Mendoza
      Or . . that most of the students lacked the intellectual abilities to comprehend the Classical Studies program.

    • @Gabe Mendoza I agree. These guys are arguing that philosophy matters more than just being able to land a job, but according to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, philosophy is the last priority while being able to secure resources to survive is the first.

    • Elaine Burnett | April 20, 2021 at 5:00 PM | Reply

      Classical education is important for all, not some.
      Vocational education is just as useful…both require thinking while living in society requires knowing how!

  6. I remember back in high school there were some books that made me uncomfortable to read. It wasn’t until college that I learned that that was a good thing. It forced me to recontextualize my life and beliefs. It made me a stronger person, a more sympathetic person, and it actually solidified my personal beliefs. Being confronted, being challenged by the past and literature is essential to making us better in the present. The classics are our heritage and it pains me to know that students these days have little to none of it, because it clearly shows.

    • Genevieve Cormiae-Foster | April 20, 2021 at 1:16 PM | Reply

      @calm 104 It is not about history, so much. We know of the white-washing in history books. Read “Lies My Teacher Told Me”, by James W. Loewen. I an sure there are more. The point is bridging up these issues for discussion and seeing who we have been as a human in the past and what we might do to alter that in a positive way. We need to see it all and pull the curtain back to reveal lies that we may have believed for many years.

    • Genevieve Cormiae-Foster | April 20, 2021 at 1:20 PM | Reply

      @Sade Jones It’s not just “white history”. It is also an opportunity to look and see who those people really were. Just because it was mostly European, doesn’t mean there weren’t people of color. Tha in itself would be a great topic to explore. I think many people would be surprised if you actually dig into the subject.

    • @Genevieve Cormiae-Foster listen I have been force fed white history all my life. I know who the ppl were I also know who they stole their ideas from and pretended like it was their own….

    • @Genevieve Cormiae-Foster And then tell me why was history whitewashed if it was not in support of white supremacy….

    • Elizabeth White | April 20, 2021 at 2:36 PM | Reply


  7. Rian Draegon | April 20, 2021 at 9:37 AM | Reply

    Students today are a product of the “get as many letters after your name” system of education so you can get a job thing. They’re just plowing through these classes because they know it’s the only (and I mean only) way they will obtain employment. And once you are lucky enough to land employment you have to keep adding “more letters” in order to get promoted. Merit and capability and experience don’t count at all anymore. So no one is embracing education with joy and excitement, it has become just a means to an end.

    • @phedup Irrelevant and also ignorant. Please stop, and actually think instead.

    • Skippy Skipperson | April 20, 2021 at 3:06 PM | Reply

      @Cindy Christian A liberal arts degree was just as worthless 20 years ago as it is now. And they’re left with student loans they can’t pay back because they spent that money on a worthless degree.

    • Cindy Christian | April 20, 2021 at 3:21 PM | Reply

      @Skippy Skipperson I wasn’t talking about Liberal Arts! I’m talking about teaching degrees, degrees in social work, people with business degrees, fine arts degrees etc! Some of these degrees only pay $30,000 a year! Who can live off that plus pay a student loan back?!

    • @Paul Somers What is irrelevent and

    • @Paul Somers What is irrelevant, (& ignorant?) Explain please.

  8. Aristotle wrote, “To attend equally to the opinions and fancies of disputing parties is childish, for clearly one of them must be mistaken.” How do I know Aristotle wrote this? Because I read it in the works of Aristotle.

  9. BooRock OMamba | April 20, 2021 at 9:58 AM | Reply

    It is just another step in the effort to turn us into unthinking automatons,
    indoctrinated with the main function of being an efficient and productive machine.

    • @Solstice of Snow It doesn’t hurt. Nor does learning about ancient African and Asian cultures. If they keep paring away, though, we’ll learn nothing but how to go through the motions of life, without knowing why.

    • Jim McLoughlin | April 20, 2021 at 4:01 PM | Reply

      Even that will tail off over the next fifty years when AI is refined.

    • Wayne Dombrowski | April 20, 2021 at 4:28 PM | Reply

      I recall teachers who taught me how to think,not what to think. Now,as conspiracy theories are progressively rotting out more of the American intellect,I can only wonder where we went wrong and why. I can’t come up with a simple answer. The only possible response is to raise our voices in support of teaching World and American History,Deductive Logic,Science and critical thinking in general. Our failure has become dangerous.
      “Unless a man has got education,a vote is a useless and dangerous thing for him to possess.” -H.G.Wells. An ignorant electorate renders democracy pointless.

    • Elaine Burnett | April 20, 2021 at 4:45 PM | Reply

      Agree…we are both productive and thinking….one aspect feeds the other! We need to know about all of us that includes more information, not less.

    • Elaine Burnett | April 20, 2021 at 4:49 PM | Reply

      @Solstice of Snow Well you just demonstrated the whole point that Greek and Latin are part of why learning is essential…the Classics start with what do we know, and after that comes the question, why do we know, can we know more? Must we know more!

  10. Thank you for bringing this to light and hopefully everyone can get together because knowledge isn’t the enemy, ignorance is.

  11. So then.. a well rounded education only afforded only to those kids attending private prep schools now??

    How grateful I am for my excellent education I received at my public Wissahickon high school in Blue Bell, PA that propelled me onward..
    Thank you to all our teachers!!👏🙏

  12. There used to be an noon-time host for cartoons in Indiana. He was called Cowboy Bob. He would always give a few words of wisdom at the end of his program. I am, now, sixty four years old. I was eleven or twelve, then. One of his phrases was, “Remember…If horses of a different color can get along, why can’t people.” I am a Black man. Those words inspired me. And, decade after decade, I always hoped that concept would or could become reality. Alas, it seems as if horses have more sense than people, when it comes to acceptance.

    • Marae Arizona | April 20, 2021 at 3:52 PM | Reply

      When I was a child (and I’m about the same vintage as you), I remember thinking that exact same thing! I went to an elementary school where a relatively large percentage of the students was Black (I am white), and I had many friends of all colors. I loved horses with a passion, so I suppose that’s why I came up with that analogy. I am so grateful for all the Black friends I have had over the years – so grateful that we could be friends, that society, as flawed as it has been, has moved in a direction that allows those friendships. My life is so much richer for it.

    • Happy Camper4ever | April 20, 2021 at 4:24 PM | Reply

      Yes, dumb animals like domesticated chickens attack “the other.” Anything different is seen as a threat.
      But not the intelligent creatures like dogs, cats, horses, elephants etc.
      When a dog meets another of their species they do not care much about breed, color or size.
      They’re just happy to meet another dog!
      Let’s learn from mans best friend!

    • Profoundly simple but it doesn’t apply to my two male cats. 🙂

    • Elaine Burnett | April 20, 2021 at 4:56 PM | Reply

      But, we can learn a lot from horses. We just have to keep trying😊😉😍

    • Elaine Burnett | April 20, 2021 at 4:58 PM | Reply

      @G B Well there is the “cat” tradition of course😂🤣🤣😃😄😋😊😉

  13. When I was in high school, the only class I loved going to was Latin. Learning an ancient language, learning about the culture, the society, you see the foundations of civilization in studying classics. If you don’t learn the past, you just end up repeating the mistakes made in it, sad to see that department go 🙁

    • Your comment is all over the place and doesn’t make any sense. And the last bit is factually inaccurate. You’re just parroting what you’ve been told! 🤷‍♂️

    • Same here, Gloria. Our class of ’59 was the last in our HS to have it; when Miss Sealls died, she was not replaced. Today, they offer only French, Spanish, German, and ASL. I value so highly the lessons learned in that class, not just the language itself, but the stories and history it told. It has been invaluable to me, not in my work, but in my personal interests in the natural world – botany, mycology, and smatterings of zoology and entomology. It’s made for a very rewarding retirement.

    • greenhometony | April 20, 2021 at 1:03 PM | Reply

      @WorldFlex actually YOU don’t make any sense!! This is her opinion and she is entitled to that. You seem to have a problem with comprehension. You would do well to not criticize others until you work on yourself.

    • @greenhometony why are u triggered? And why Can that person have an “opinion” but yet I can’t have an “opinion”? What neurotic little world do u live in?

  14. Books _should_ make you uncomfortable. They prepare and arm you for life, which will do that many times to you.

    • Minh Quan Vo | April 20, 2021 at 1:59 PM | Reply

      What if the book is about American’s war crime, or real life of a black slave in America? Would you be prepare to read that?

    • Grunthos The Flatulent! | April 20, 2021 at 5:49 PM | Reply

      True, we can’t live in a “Safe space” from cradle to grave…

  15. I ❤ Eddie. He is a walking, talking book of knowledge🖋📕 His students are extremely blessed to have him🙏🙏🌈

    • Eddie is a public intellectual — tyoing past history to how past history is active in the present.

    • I would fail his class. I never did well with Professors that actually knew what they were doing and were passionate about it, lol! But I would enjoy listening to him!

  16. I’m a 56 yr old Native American grandma. I was taught the classics. Of Mice and Men. The Iliad and the Odyssey. A Raisin in the Sun. Etc.
    When asked, “Why are we here?”, the answer was to learn from the mistakes of our past. To appreciate what we have that they didn’t have. To pass on to each generation the map of previous treasures.
    But I do see the screaming reason now is to find the best job. Make the most money. Be successful based on how many people follow you on social media-how popular you are.
    We took a wrong turn and need to get back on the right path. My granddaughter will not see the sights in nature that I grew up with. She does not know what a phone booth looks like. Let’s move forward without forgetting where we came from and how we got here…

  17. Heather Wood | April 20, 2021 at 3:11 PM | Reply

    *I think this has been 60 years in the coming – in 1961, as I prepared to enter high school, I was dismayed to learn that our Latin teacher was retiring, and would not be replaced*

    • christistratton | April 20, 2021 at 5:11 PM | Reply

      I am in my fifties. When I was twenty, I had a teacher who was in HIS fifties. He told us the amount of work– papers of various kinds, research, books read– that he needed to do in order to get his degree, and it was twice as much as a new graduate at the time. He got education then that we were not teaching younger students coming out of those colleges, and it is even less now, and it is painfully obvious. No critical thinking skills at all.

  18. Without an understanding of where we came from by studying the classics, we will be walking into another dark ages of our species.

  19. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!!!!! As a retired high school teacher I helplessly watched the “dumbing” down of our student body We are centered on building a workforce not a think-force. As I talk to people 40years and younger, I see a blank look in their eyes when I launch into “the past” as it relates to the present and their own lives. We need to emphasize classical education to help bring clarity, and richness, to our society.

  20. Katusha Watkins | April 20, 2021 at 4:49 PM | Reply

    Classics literature test …. many homeschoolers have taken tests involving questions from the classics. Excellent idea to expand this reality!

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