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President Coleman signs letter urging Congress to increase NEH funding
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- University of Iowa President Mary Sue Coleman is
among 76 presidents and chancellors of some of the largest research universities
in the country who have signed a letter urging Congress to bolster funding
for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).
The letter, addressed to Speaker of the House of Representatives Newt
Gingrich, expresses the presidents' "strong support" of the NEH
and their desire to stop the erosion of funding to the agency. "Apart
from colleges and universities, the NEH is the nation's largest sponsor
of the humanities and plays a critical role on university campuses and
communities in helping all Americans to appreciate and participate in the
humanities," the letter states.
Since 1995 the NEH has come under increased Congressional scrutiny and
has experienced dramatic budget cuts. The NEH's national programs, which
support activities involving universities, are now operating at 40 percent
of their fiscal year 1995 level.
"The federal government has an essential leadership role in supporting
the humanities, and it is clear that neither states nor the private sector
has the incentive to fill the broad role of the NEH," the letter says.
Among the presidents signing the letter are Martin Jischke, president
of Iowa State University; Hunter Rawlings, president of Cornell University
and former UI president; and Constantine Curris, president of Clemson University
and former president of the University of Northern Iowa.
The University of Iowa has been a national leader in supporting funding
for the arts and humanities. In the wake of federal budget cuts, UI Vice
President for Research David Skorton set aside monies for arts and humanities
research proposals on campus. Also, he and Coleman have won legislative
budget support for arts and humanities initiatives, and Skorton has appointed
a special task force to advise the university in bolstering the role and
funding of arts and humanities on campus.