Cutting Arts spending? Tell us why

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Science should be invested in. Insofar as we have concern for our practical wellbeing, it is prudent. Insofar as we plan to revive our economy, it is absolutely imperative. A nation built upon the strength of its financial services industry is perhaps not the sure-fire bet it seemed not so long ago-our technological edge is all we have. Given the current circumstances, it might be considered wise for the university to increase its investment in sciences, and acceptable that this should come at the expense of the arts. It was perhaps unfortunate, then, that the decision to do so emerged in the same week as the Oxford funded revelation that ducks like water, sure to be remembered alongside the shocking discoveries that the Pope is Catholic and that bears defecate in wooded areas. The expenditure of £300,000 on what essentially involved giving ducks a shower for a three year period hardly gives us confidence that the extra investment in the sciences will be well spent. Cherwell doesn’t intend to suggest that one experiment represents science spending in general. However, it does raise questions about the way in which money is spent. Simply put, we haven’t been given enough information. The decision to cut spending on the arts in favour of sciences might well be a good one-it could be the case that spending in the humanities is needlessly inefficient, or that there are scientific projects that clearly merit extra investment. The case has not been made to us. As students, it almost seems that we are considered to be below consultation on these matters. As the recipients of education provision at Oxford, we are clearly well placed to offer an opinion on the funding of that provision. There is nothing wrong in principle with a change of priorities in investment-we simply need to know that money is being spent effectively before we can accept it.

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