Saturday, May 17, 2008

Current Activities


This has been a busy last few days, with a trip to Los Angeles for a press conference, community outreach at the Taiwanese American Cultural Festival at Union Square, and the Asian Heritage Street Celebration in Japantown, both in San Francisco. All this while most members of our committee are studying for final exams!

More details are coming soon. Please continue to check back, and write to savekoreanstudies @ with any questions or if you can help our efforts.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Korean Studies Discussion Thread

Christine Hong has alerted readers of the Koreanstudies mailing list, a forum for those interested in Korean Studies, to our recent actions in Berkeley and to larger institutional inequities that structure the field and that maintain the "language vs. literature" divide on campuses far beyond Berkeley. Click here to read the original post and then click the "next message" link below to see responses and discussion by Michael Pettid, Theodore Hughes, Henry Em, John Duncan, and Ju Hui Judy Han.

UC announces fee hikes

The UC Regents have announced fee hikes as of the Summer 2008 session in an article from the central campus newsroom. Undergraduate fees will go up by 7.4%, bringing average systemwide campus fees to over $8000.

Press Conference Friday in Los Angeles

Files for download:
  1. Complete Press Packet (English, Korean, and Chinese together)
  2. Media Advisory (English, Korean, Chinese - separate files by language)
  3. Press Release (English, Chinese - separate files by language)
MAY 13, 2008

Media Contacts:
Chinese Media: Jeffrey Shieh – 626-251-3547 (
William Hsiao – 415-794-9770 (
Japanese Media: Andrew Leong – 510-301-0867 (
William Hsiao – 415-794-9770 (
Korean Media: Christine Hong – 510-658-3310 (
David Malinowski - 510-717-2367 (


WHAT: A diverse coalition of UC Berkeley students will hold a press conference to address the devastating effect of impending California state budget cuts on the East Asian Languages and Cultures Department (EALC), while highlighting the historical neglect of the Korean Studies Program at UC Berkeley. In addition, this press conference is intended to appeal to local communities for donations to save Korean, Chinese, and Japanese language programs at UC Berkeley.

The impact of budget cuts on EALC as of Fall 2008:

➢ Percentage of classes to be cut from each language in EALC
  • Japanese 40%
  • Chinese 54%
  • Korean 66%
➢ Numbers of students to be cut from next year's classes (3200 to 1500 students)
  • Japanese: 496
  • Chinese: 550
  • Korean: 484

At Berkeley, the flagship campus of the major university on the Pacific Rim, ethnic Asian students represent a near majority—45% out of 40,000.

WHO: Members of Committee to Save East Asian Languages and Korean Studies at Berkeley
Student & Community Organizations Endorsing the Issue

WHEN: Friday, May 16, 2008

TIME: 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

WHERE: KAEDC (Korean American Economic Development Center) Office
3807 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1106
Los Angeles, CA 90010

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

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Fundraising Success at University of Washington

The link is to a Seattle Times article on how Korean-American community members raised funds and saved the Korean Studies program at University of Washington. We can do the same!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Korean & Vietnamese to be eliminated in U of Florida budget crisis

The University of Florida has compiled a page showing all of the proposed reductions across its campus in the face of a $47 million budget shortage. All departments were asked to cut their budgets by 6%. This situation is very similar in some respects to the one we face now at Berkeley--yet here are Berkeley we STILL DON"T KNOW WHAT'S GOING ON ACROSS CAMPUS.

The scope of the cuts is astonishing--note that amidst all of the other proposed cuts the Korean and Vietnamese language programs are going to be cut ENTIRELY, and many region-specific language programs are being consolidated. Scroll down to the section on the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (2/3 of the way down).

This news coincides with a discussion thread on Koreaweb, a popular listserv for scholars in Korean Studies, entitled "Vulnerabilities of Korean Studies"

Petition drive continues tomorrow on Sproul

We'll be continuing our drive to collect hand-signed petitions tomorrow, Tuesday May 13th, on Sproul Plaza. If you can help collect signatures over the next several days, or if you & your friends haven't signed yet, please stop by our table anytime after 10am. You can also download the petition here. We will deliver the petitions to Chancellor Birgeneau and Executive Vice Chancellor & Provost Breslauer on May 20. As before, please turn in signed petitions to Christine Hong's mailbox in 322 Wheeler Hall. Remember, every signature counts--the forms don't have to have all the lines filled.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

New America Media article

Another article covering the rally, from Sing Tao Daily, appeared today: "Berkeley Students Protest to Keep Asian Study Courses"

Check the list in the right-hand column for a collection of stories on events as they unfold, and please either comment to this post or send email to savekoreanstudies @ to let us know about new stories.

Letter writing campaign--Part 2

The director of the Berkeley Language Center, Prof. Richard Kern, has written a letter that's being circulated to all the language department chairs, asking them to pass it along to instructors and students. The letter asks STUDENTS AND PARENTS to write letters to local and state government representatives, stating how much of an impact the cuts to our language classes will have on us. Please WRITE SOME LETTERS, and pass the word along to your friends. And if you're looking for inspiration, check out these amazing testimonials that many students in Korean, Chinese, and Japanese have already written.

Below are the reps mentioned in the letter. Remember, email's fine but handwritten letters count more:
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA 95814

California State Senators and Assembly Members viewable through State District Maps at

In the East Bay, Senate District 09, contact:
State Senator Don Perata (
State Capitol
Room 205
Sacramento, CA 94248-0001

In the Berkeley area, Assembly District 14, contact
Assemblywoman Loni Hancock
State Capitol
Room 4126
Sacramento, CA 94249-0014
Or online at