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University President Drew G. Faust took to the pages of the New York Times Thursday to lay out an impassioned case for continuing to fund the National Endowment for the Humanities, a federal grant-making agency that Faust wrote “nurtures our national soul.”
Last month, President Donald Trump included the NEH and its sister program, the National Endowment for the Arts, on a draft list of programs up for elimination in this year’s federal budget.
In the op-ed, Faust, a historian of the American South, described several projects funded by the NEH, including a wildly popular 1990 Civil War documentary, a cross-country tour of Shakespeare’s First Folio, and the digitization of eight million pages of historic newspapers.
"Reports suggest that the Trump administration’s coming budget will defund the endowment,” Faust wrote. “I would wager that few readers of this newspaper, and probably few Americans anywhere, are untouched by an N.E.H.-sponsored project or program.”
Research funding is among several of Faust’s federal policy priorities when she meets with lawmakers on Capitol Hill. Researchers from across Harvard’s disciplines and schools—from the Medical School to humanities departments in the College —have voiced concerns about funding cuts.
This year, Faust has met with House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and other politicians in Washington.
Faust does not frequently write op-eds, although she has written pieces in the past for the Boston Globe, Washington Post, and The Crimson, among others.
“The [NEH] helps Americans explore and better understand how we came to be the nation, people and world we are,” Faust wrote. “We must ensure that it continues.”
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