Foreign language cuts at OSU

Don Osborn dzo at
Sat Jul 12 23:32:50 UTC 2008

Another old item - a letter concerning Oregon State's reduction of foreign
language classes, in the school's paper, The Barometer. Has there been
anything more on this story?



Letters to the Editor

Issue date: 5/23/08 Section: Forum


Foreign Language and Literatures classes


Pressured to reduce class offerings


As you might know if you caught our Tower of Babble installation in the MU
Lounge on Tuesday, May 13, this year was designated by United Nations
Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as the
International Year of Languages.


Yet, at this time when the needs for international cooperation and
multilingualism are stronger than ever, OSU's Department of Foreign
Languages and Literatures is pressured to dramatically reduce its class
offerings for next fall. Because of inadequate funding, we have to close
sections in all languages, and it appears that first-year Italian will be
eliminated, despite its enormous popularity.


Students will find it increasingly difficult to register for language
classes, a situation which deeply upsets the whole faculty and staff of this


Furthermore, since most language classes are offered in sequence and only
once a year, underfunding will make it even harder for students who need to
complete foreign language requirements to graduate on time. It also means
larger class sizes and less personal attention, factors that are especially
detrimental to learning languages.


This situation is all the more absurd since the Department of Foreign
Languages and Literatures makes money for the university. Under a budgeting
model where tuition dollars follow the students, we see that Foreign
Languages' finances are completely in order: we generate more money than we
need to operate at current capacity. Instead of which, through the use of an
unfair budget model, we find ourselves with a deficit of $250,000 and
threatened with job losses.


We simply ask for the funds to complete our public service mission of
teaching languages to students, as mandated by the Oregon Legislature. So
are foreign languages important at OSU or is it just a pretense? Is this the
International Year of Languages or is it the year we get cut?


Signed by the following Foreign Languages and Literatures faculty members:


Faiza Al-Saaidi, Christopher Baldridge, Anuncia Escala, Kayla Garcia, Kathy
Girsch, Karim Hamdy, Armelle Hofer, Alan Kalter, Brenda McCullough, Setsuko
Nakajima, Fumiko Nakamura, Erika Nava, Angela Palacios, Lucia Robelo,
Julieta Vitullo, Ana Warren, Dawn Westbrook, Guy Wood.


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