news Sports Opinions arts variety interact Wildcat On-Line QuickNav

"Easy majors" aren't so easy

By Rod Cate, Ph.D.
Arizona Daily Wildcat
August 31, 1998
Send comments to:

To the editor,

I was appalled to read Arlie Rahn's Daily Wildcat article entitled "Major athletes hurdle toward easier majors" (Aug. 27). This article is filled with inaccuracies, questionable assumptions, and sloppy logic.

First, the headline states that athletes seek "easier" majors. What evidence does Rahn present to substantiate such a claim? None!! Similarly, he says family studies and communication are "cushy" majors. Where is his evidence? He has none!!!!! His flawed logic asserts that family studies and communication are "cushy" because some athletes major in those areas.

Where is the logical connection here? Does that mean that psychology courses are easy because some athletes take those courses? Does Rahn need a course in logic?

Rahn's implicit message is that athletes only want easy or cushy courses. What an insult!! I'm afraid Rahn is supporting what too many people in our society have assumed, that social issues pertaining to children, youth, and families are much less important than issues in physical science, engineering, and other technical fields.

I would hope that Rahn's education would have enlightened him to the fact that the problems in this world cannot be solved only by the so-called "hard sciences." Major problems in the U.S. are adolescent pregnancy, family abuse, drug abuse, child poverty, etc. Alleviation of these problems will come through the work of people in the social sciences.

Second, Rahn implies that athletes are given special treatment by only having to have a 1.8 grade point average. Had Rahn done a thorough reporting job, he would find that the 1.8 GPA requirement for athletes is a NCAA requirement, and that UA academic probation rules apply to both athletes and non-athletes.

Third, Rahn states that family studies majors have "few real-world opportunities" for jobs. That is patently false. In a phone interview with one sportswriter (it may have been Rahn) about this article, I invited him to come to my office so that I could give him a long list of jobs that are held by graduates in the family studies program. He declined to do that. I can only assume that Rahn and his cronies were not interested in the facts, but relied on their own uninformed opinions. In fact, our recent graduates hold such jobs as an executive director of a social service agency, a developmental disabilities specialist, a lead teacher in a preschool program, a child welfare social worker, a residential advisor for the Job Corps, a production assistant for Viacom, a family assistance worker for the AZ Dept. of Economic Services, a family facilitator for Head Start, a specialist for Child Protective Services, and many others. I would say that those are "real-life" jobs that are extremely important to society.

In sum, Rahn's article was an insult to the 500 students on this campus who have decided on a career involved with assisting children, youth, and families. I would invite Rahn to take a family studies class.

Rahn, a mind is a terrible thing to waste.

Rod Cate, Ph.D.

Professor and Director

School of Family and Consumer Resources

Arizona Bookstore: 815 N. Park Ave. - Just off campus - 520-622-4717 Best prices on new & used textbooks