Last week, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos proposed a $17.6 million cut in government funding to the Special Olympics, the largest sports organization for children and adults with intellectual and physical disabilities. DeVos also proposed cuts to numerous special education programs, attempting to reduce special education grants for states and government funding for special needs colleges like Gallaudet University.
President Trump has since denounced DeVos after receiving backlash for the budget proposal and said that the Special Olympics will be funded. We asked students for their thoughts and reactions to the proposed budget cut.
Kameryn Carbone, junior liberal studies major and LMU Special Games volunteer
“I think Betsy DeVos wanting to cut funding for the Special Olympics ties into overlying issues behind other discriminatory patterns such as racism, sexism and so on. You are making it legal to oppress people for the way they are born to make yourself and your position more superior.”
Lauree Anne De Mattos, sophomore English major
“This decision represents the Trump administration’s lack of empathy and casual disregard for the dignity of marginalized groups. In a country as wealthy as the United States, there is no excuse for our failure to create spaces and opportunities for people with disabilities in an ableist society.”
Colton Van Til, sophomore film and television production major
“I wish elected officials went through the military budget with as much scrutiny as other domestic funding. We spent over half a trillion dollars last year on our military but DeVos can't spend an amount that's .02 percent as much on something that brings so much happiness to hundreds of thousands of Americans? Ridiculous.”
John Lopez, junior computer science major
"We need to ensure that all citizens have the chances to make better lives for themselves, and if we cut special education, we are leaving a significant American population without the support they need to improve their lives. This translates into [people's] dependency on [government] aid programs later in their lives, and more tax dollars [spent] in the long term."
Alex Myers, senior philosophy and French double major
“It shows that the Trump administration lacks the proper management to thoroughly anticipate how their proposed cuts will affect others. Granted they decided not to carry out their decision, the act in itself makes DeVos appear senseless because the amount of money given to the Special Olympics is pocket change compared to the trillions of dollars invested in the military.”
Austin Raymundo, junior political science and economics double major
“The Special Olympics are not only important in the sense it provides the athletes themselves an opportunity to compete where they would otherwise not be afforded the chance, but because it creates lots of awareness and drives a lot of important work on issues that those mentally [challenged] people face.”