Thursday, May 15, 2008

Donation Appeal Letter

The following letter states the need for immediate funds to restore Korean, Japanese, and Chinese instruction at Berkeley in the coming academic year, and to save the jobs of 13 lecturers in these languages. PLEASE CONTRIBUTE, CONTACT YOUR FRIENDS/COLLEAGUES/ETC. AND HELP US SPREAD THE WORD. You can download this letter and a form with instructions for donating here. Email savekoreanstudies @ with any questions.
May 14, 2008

Dear Friends,

We, as students of Korean, Japanese and Chinese at UC Berkeley, are writing to ask for your support so that we can continue studying the languages we love.

As you may already know, the 2008 California state budget cuts are having a serious negative impact on the teaching of languages at UC Berkeley. Much language instruction, especially at the critical early stages of learning, is performed by non-tenured instructors whose salaries come from what is known as the “Temporary Academic Staffing” budget. This area of funding is precisely what Berkeley administrators have determined they must cut in order to cover their share of the $417 million shortfall in the UC system.

While precise information for all languages and departments is not clear, Korean, Chinese, and Japanese instruction will be particularly devastated. These languages are three of the most popular on campus, with over 3200 enrolled students this year and hundreds more turned away every semester due to lack of space. Yet if the current budget is enacted as planned, this is what will happen in Fall 2008:

Korean language classes – cut by 66% or more
Chinese language classes – cut by 54% or more
Japanese language classes – cut by 40% or more

If these cuts continue for more than one year, as they are projected to, it will be nearly impossible for these programs to recover. From a student’s perspective, missing the first year of instruction often means missing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn a language. And, on a larger scale, the elimination of course offerings imperils Berkeley's position as a first-rate university, threatens its identity as a leading Pacific Rim school, and challenges its role as a public institution that serves our families and communities.

In response, we are working to develop short and long term solutions. In the short term, we need to raise $500,000 to make sure our instructors are able to keep their jobs, and to make sure the number of course offerings is not reduced. Doing so will also allow us to work with non-tenured instructors, professors, and department administrators in an effort to set up long-term funding structures, with the goal of protecting language instruction from future cuts and pushing for the institutional recognition of language instruction as a profession.

The reverse side of this letter contains instructions for sending your donation. By contributing to this effort, you will help to save the Korean, Chinese, and Japanese languages on the Berkeley campus and in the lives of its students, while also forcing UC Berkeley to remain accountable to the students and communities it serves.

Thank you very much,

Committee to Save East Asian Languages and Korean Studies at Berkeley

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