To the Editors:

The following letter is being sent to President William McGill of Columbia University:

President William McGill

Columbia University

New York, N.Y. 10027

Dear Sir:

Having recently learned of proposals to curtail the offerings of the School of the Arts at Columbia, we, as a group of American artists having no connection with the University, write to call your attention to the consequence of such plans. As artists, we know what it means to have a deficit; we are aware of Columbia’s financial problems. At the same time, we believe that disproportionate cuts in one of the most vigorous parts of the University would impair Columbia’s ability to emerge from its present difficulties as a serious institution.

All over America students are turning to the arts to make sense of their lives. No longer satisfied with a passive appreciation of the arts, they want to try to make something of their own. They are concerned with the problems of the present, and in their poems, plays, novels, paintings and films they are trying to confront today’s reality and to help preserve civilization in America. For that reason, it is essential that Columbia, of all the universities in America, located in the cultural center of the country, encourage rather than discourage the arts. We urge that you do all that you can to ensure the permanence of the School of the Arts as an essential part of Columbia’s curriculum.

W.H. Auden

John Berryman

Elizabeth Bishop

Hortense Calisher

James Dickey

Richard Eberhart

Isabella Gardner

Elizabeth Hardwick

Anthony Hecht

Richard Howard

Barbara Howes

Alfred Kazin

Galway Kinnell

Arthur Miller

N. Scott Momaday

Howard Nemerov

Reynolds Price

Gregory Rabassa

Isaac Bashevis Singer

William Jay Smith

Jean Stafford

George Steiner

Allen Tate

Willard R. Trask

Richard Wilbur

John A. Williams

James Wright

This Issue

January 7, 1971