President Pauline Yu has sent the message below to ACLS constituents.

Dear friends and colleagues,

The Constitution states that a purpose of government is to “promote the general welfare.” Our capacity to understand our country and our world is critical to that goal. This week, the Trump Administration issued a budget request for the coming fiscal year that undermines that capacity.

The president’s budget calls for the eradication of the National Endowment for the Humanities and many other cultural agencies, including the National Endowment for the Arts, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the National Historic Publications and Records Commission, and the International and Foreign Language Studies programs of the Department of Education (Title VI and Fulbright-Hays). If this radical proposal is enacted, the infrastructure of the humanities in the United States will be severely degraded. The president’s FY 2018 budget is an assault on our nation’s core values, for the humanities are essential to an innovative and robust civil society, where citizens are free to question, investigate, and imagine better futures.

Of course, we know that while the president may propose, it is Congress that appropriates the funding. I urge you to contact your Members of Congress to tell them that you support the humanities and strongly oppose any proposal that would eliminate the NEH and other essential programs.  Any federal budget affects many issues, and you may wish to address those separately, but if our community does not arise in defense of humanities research, much will be lost. The strong response of NEH supporters earlier this year helped the Endowment win a slight increase in its FY17 appropriation. As the struggle over the FY18 budget is likely to be protracted, early action will let Congress know of vigilant opposition to the Administration’s proposals.

As I have noted before, our colleagues at the National Humanities Alliance (NHA) offer simple and straightforward means to e-mail or call your representatives. Please visit the NHA’s site today. If you wish to call directly, you can reach the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and be connected to any Senator or Representative. Calls are particularly effective at demonstrating grass-roots concern.


Pauline Yu
American Council of Learned Societies