save east asian languages and korean studies at berkeley

I've heard from several students in East Asian Language programs at UC Berkeley who say their programs are now in danger due to budget cuts. Basically, state-determined budget cuts are reducing the East Asian Language programs (Chinese, Japanese and Korean) to half of what they currently are, resulting in numerous layoffs and huge cuts in the number of students who can take East Asian classes.

What's most disturbing about this development is that Korean Studies, already a small, historically neglected program at Cal, is apparently in danger of being completely eliminated, with a cut of 66%. Here's some information passed along to me from Christine, a member of the ad hoc "Committee to Save Korean Studies at Berkeley":
UC Berkeley Students Protest Cuts to East Asian Languages

Korean Cut 66%, Chinese Cut 54%, Japanese Cut 40%

Thousands of UC students are protesting the drastic cuts made to East Asian language education at UC Berkeley. According to the projected budget figures for the next academic year, 66% of Korean language classes, 54% of Chinese language classes, and 40% of Japanese language classes will be eliminated. As a result of the cuts, more than 1500 students currently taking East Asian language classes will no longer be able to continue their studies.

The cuts will have devastating effects on Chinese and Japanese language studies, but they threaten the very existence of Korean language studies, which were in a precarious state even before the announced cuts.

The negative impact of the budget cuts extends well beyond just the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures (EALC). The department has announced that students from other Colleges and Schools will be barred from taking East Asian language classes (http://ealc.berkeley.edu/message.htm). As a result, hundreds of students in engineering, economics, law, business, history, and political science will be unable to pursue languages critical to their future careers.

Students at UC Berkeley are using all channels of protest, both traditional andinnovative, to oppose the cuts. In addition to meeting with administrators, circulating petitions, and writing letters to campus officials and state politicians, various student groups have turned to blogs and Facebook to organize protest efforts and disseminate information. These sites and groups include savekoreanstudies@blogspot.com, 'Save Korean Studies at UC Berkeley,' 'Object to East Asian Language and Cultures Budget Cuts' and 'Support East Asian Language Education.'

The cuts to East Asian language education at Berkeley are particularly shocking given UC Berkeley's role as a flagship campus on the Pacific Rim. Nearly 45% of UC Berkeley's students are of Asian descent. For many students, Berkeley is the only place where they can receive formal instruction in their heritage languages. Demand for East Asian languages among both heritage and non-heritage learners has skyrocketed over the past decade, and even before the cuts, hundreds of students were turned away or wait-listed from East Asian language classes.
There's a currently mass email campaign being waged, a press conference happening on Wednesday and a rally on Thursday in Berkeley to address the budget cuts. To learn more about the effort to Save East Asian Languages and Korean Studies at UC Berkeley, including links to the various Facebook groups and online petitions, and—most importantly—what you can do to help, visit the blogs here and here.

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