Florida Governor Criticizes Anthropology Majors, Daughter Holds Degree in Field


October 13, 2011
by Suada Kolovic
Recent college graduates have entered one of the toughest job markets in decades. Full-time positions are scarce and with the unemployment rate hovering at 9 percent, some people have harsh words for those pursuing liberal arts degrees. For instance, Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s  message to anthropology majors: The state doesn’t need more anthropologists. Perhaps he forgot his own daughter has a degree in the field. Oops!

Recent college graduates have entered one of the toughest job markets in decades. Full-time positions are scarce and with the unemployment rate hovering at 9 percent, some people have harsh words for those pursuing liberal arts degrees. For instance, Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s message to anthropology majors: The state doesn’t need more anthropologists. Perhaps he forgot his own daughter has a degree in the field. Oops!

In an interview with the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Mr. Scott said, "Is it a vital interest of the state to have more anthropologists? I don’t think so." He told the paper that he wants to shift more funding to science, technology, engineering and math departments – aka the “STEM” disciplines – and away from departments like psychology and anthropology. This comment didn’t sit well with the American Anthropological Association, prompting 11,000 of its members to fire back at Scott in a letter stating the governor is “unaware that anthropologists are leaders in our nation’s top science fields, making groundbreaking discoveries in areas as varied as public health, human genetics, legal history, bilingualisms, the African American heritage and infant learning.” A spokesman for the governor later said that he didn’t mean to criticize anthropologists but rather intended to highlight the demand for graduates with degrees in STEM fields.

Do you think Gov. Scott’s words were a bit too harsh? Should students pursue degrees in STEM fields because there is a demand? Recent liberal art graduates, would you go back to school and change your degree path?

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