Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Letter to the Chronicle of Higher Education

UPDATE: This letter was published in the November 7 edition of the Chronicle of Higher Education (LINK).

Letter to the Editor:
What a thrill it was to see the LSU Jazz Funeral for Higher Education splashed all over the Chronicle on October 8!  One of the things that got 400 faculty and students riled up at this otherwise apathetic institution was the case of the Foreign Language Fourteen.  With $42 million of budget cuts mandated to the LSU campus for 2010-2011, fourteen foreign language instructors are the ONLY faculty being dismissed in the middle of the academic year, for an approximate savings of $270,000.  We have presented a very reasonable argument to the administration for extending our contracts through August 2011 (something 224 other endangered instructors received) but we have been told that "we live in hard economic times" and "the money simply isn't there."  Never mind that the graduation requirements for hundreds of students are jeopardized.  Never mind that the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures was targeted in covert meetings over the summer. Never mind that the administration is making unilateral decisions that drastically affect the curriculum over which it has no such authority and for which there is, apparently, no accountability.  Never mind that one of those instructors provides the only foreign language option for students with disabilities.  Never mind that Japanese, Russian, Swahili and Portuguese will no longer be taught at LSU. Never mind that the classics, Italian and German faculties have been cut in half.  The administration stands by its decision to dismiss these fourteen faculty members as of January 2011 "given the budget situation."  The arbitrariness of these actions has created an atmosphere of distrust and fear at LSU.  The Foreign Language Fourteen believe that Louisiana State University is setting a dangerous precedent, and, despite the odds, we are determined to fight to save foreign languages at this once noble institution. For more on the Foreign Language Fourteen, find us on Facebook or at

Johanna Sandrock, Angelika Roy 
Proud members of the Foreign Language Fourteen

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