Friday, May 23, 2008

Testimonial from Jonathan Michaels

My name is Jonathan Michaels, EECS class of 2006. Despite being in the College of Engineering, I was able to take Japanese language classes (1A through 102) for all of my four years at Berkeley, and I can say without the slightest exaggeration that being able to do so completely changed my life. I studied a year of Japanese in high school, fell in love with the language, continued it at Berkeley, which led to a semester abroad, one thing led to another, and my passion for the language ended up surpassing my interest in my major. I now find myself entering a master's program in translation and interpretation this fall, in preparation for a career in said field. I would think it a great tragedy should future Berkeley students be denied the same opportunity that I had.
--Jonathan Michaels, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (istaro AT

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Testimonial from Julia Lam

Not only am I a student of the third-year Chinese language class, but also I am an officer of a student group called the San Francisco Hepatitis B Collaborative at Berkeley. We are a group that works in conjunction with various San Francisco public health organizations, including UCSF Medical and Pharmacy schools, to provide interpreters for Hepatitis B screening and vaccination clinics that service the large API community in San Francisco. I and many members of our student group have had the privilege of receiving language training at UC Berkeley, which we have been able to apply directly to work in our community. Our heritage speakers have not only had countless opportunities to provide interpretation services to non-English-speaking patients in various clinics and health fairs, but have also been entrusted with developing patient education materials in various API languages, including Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Tagalog, and Japanese. I honestly feel that the conviction of our group to service the API community outside of the UC Berkeley campus and our capability to do so would not exist without the caliber of training many of us have received from the UC Berkeley East Asian Language Department or the cultural interests and social awareness fostered by its diverse courses. For this reason, the scaling back of East Asian language courses will not only be a loss to the student community on campus, but also a disservice to the large API community outside our campus. Thus, I deeply implore the University of California to reconsider the budget cuts to the East Asian Language Department.
--Julia Lam, Molecular and Cell Biology major, Chinese minor (julia_lam AT

Administration able to restore funding?

Thanks to Jeff Shieh for pointing out a recent article on the University of California Newsroom website, "May Revision restores some proposed UC cuts; Regents approve 2008-09 student fee levels". Along with outlining the 7.4% student fee increase that will take place this coming academic year, the article notes that
The May Revision proposes restoring $98.5 million of that [$332 million] cut, leaving state funding for the university in 2008-09 roughly equivalent to the 2007-08 level. However, funding is not provided in the May Revision for key needs that the Regents had included in their 2008-09 budget request, including funding for enrollment growth, faculty and staff salary increases, and other inflationary cost increases. In addition, the university is seeking an $8 million increase in funding for student mental health services on campuses, a priority endorsed by both the Regents and UC student organizations.

There is no mention here of the Temporary Academic Staffing budget, from which the majority of language teaching of East Asian (and other) languages at Berkeley are funded; does this mean that TAS funding will be restored? And if so, when?

Fundraising campaign on front page of Korea Times

대단히 감사합니다! THANK YOU to the Korea Times SF for running prominent articles over the last two days publicizing the beginnings of our fund-raising campaign to raise approximately $200,000 to stop Korean classes from being canceled this fall. This is part of the approximately $500,000 required to make sure that Korean, Japanese, and Chinese classes do not get cut in the short term, and is one step on the way to the approximately $5 million required for an endowed professorship to invigorate Korean Studies and language education in the department of East Asian Languages and Cultures.

The two articles are: "버클리대 한국어 강의 축소저지’ 모금 캠페인" ("Fundraising Campaign to Stop Cuts to UC Berkeley Korean Classes", 5/20) and "UC버클리‘한국어 구하기 모임’기금모금 대책 논의" ('Save Korean' Fundraising Strategy Meeting Held at UC Berkeley, 5/21)

READERS: If you are able to translate one of these or any other articles on our website into English from Korean, Chinese, or Japanese, your efforts would be very much appreciated. You could reply to this post as a comment, or send mail to "". Also, if you find other relevant articles, please forward them to us and we will post them. Thank you!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Testimonial from Danny Park

The degree of my improvement in my Korean skills and awareness could never have happened without [my Korean language] courses and instructors in particular. I firmly believe, as an American-born Korean, I would have forever been lost to my culture, heritage, and ethnic identity without these courses. To restrict language study strictly to the L and S students is equivalent to restricting the rest of the students from bettering themselves outside of their major choices. --
Daniel Park, Political Economy of Industrialized Societies major (daniel_park AT

Language learning testimonials

Below this post you'll see a testimonial from a student learning Chinese at Berkeley, writing about what learning this language means to her and her thoughts about what it might be like if budget cuts were to eliminate over half of the Chinese, Korean, and Japanese classes, as is currently planned for the Fall 2008 semester. Every day we'll post one such testimonial, from a student learning Chinese, Korean, Japanese, or another language threatened by the budget cuts.

If you'd like to contribute your testimonial, please send it to Testimonials are welcome from teachers as well, and from students and others beyond UC Berkeley. Please feel free to post your comments to the posts too, or send the author an email if her/his email address is listed.

Thank you everyone!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Testimonial from Stephanie Chi-ning Chang

As the first-generation child of Taiwanese immigrant parents, I grew up in a Mandarin-speaking household, but never attained anything even remotely near native fluency, or even the fundamentals of written Chinese. I decided in my first year at Berkeley to enroll in the beginning level heritage class to improve my understanding of both oral and written Chinese, and I can honestly say now at the end of the semester that I've achieved so much more than my expectations. I've improved tangibly, and I'm not just saying that - to my own surprise I can actually read simple stories and elementary-level books now, which may not seem like much, but for someone who was practically completely illiterate before the class...

As a potential comparative literature major, I'm required to have more than one language in which I can work fluently enough to read and analyze its literature. Thus far I've planned my years out with Chinese as one of the main components of my major, and unless I can continue to take classes (preferably heritage) every single semester until I graduate, I won't be able to complete my requirements. Major aside, I'm still very upset that the EALC department has to suffer such drastic cuts, when it's all too clear that hundreds, if not thousands, of students at UC Berkeley find these classes to be an integral part of their education.
Stephanie Chi-ning Chang, Psychology and Comp. Literature double major (intended) (ning_ning AT

All welcome! Fundraising meeting Wednesday: $500K to go!!

With the end of the semester upon us, we urge all of you who are part of the EALC community--i.e., lecturers, professors, students--to attend a fundraising meeting this Wednesday morning. We strongly encourage all of you to attend, in no small part because there is greater strength, creative vision, and overall social resources in numbers.
  • Time: 11 a.m
  • Date: Wednesday, 5/21
  • Place: 2223 Fulton st., basement room (where the first press conference was held)
  • Purpose: to discuss and develop strategies for short-term fundraising (Goal: $500K)

In addition to holding press conferences, organizing the rally, working with community organizations, contacting and attempting to meet with state and local legislators as well as Berkeley administrators, writing op-eds, conducting our petition drive, and composing awareness letters, we now confront the formidable task of raising upwards of $500,000 in donations, yet few of us have professional experience in the area of fundraising. Moreover, our core committee, especially as folks return to their respective homes or abroad for the summer, is rapidly dwindling in number. For those of us who have worked round-the-clock for the past few weeks and now face the daunting prospect of fundraising, we need your support, commitment, and action, more than ever.

What we aim collectively to accomplish, at least provisionally, this wednesday is the following (please feel free to add to or suggest revisions of this agenda):

  • to establish some basic talking points for fundraising conversations,
  • to compile potential donor lists,
  • to develop strategies aimed at corporate philanthropy.

Let's meet this Wednesday and begin a collective discussion about how we might work together toward meeting the ealc budget shortfall.

In support of today's "Study-in" in Sacramento

Today in Sacramento student groups from across the state protested the budget cuts to education with a "study-in" in Sacramento. This was reported broadly in the media, as in NBC-11's "CSU, UC Students Hold 'Study-In' Protest". This and other actions are being coordinated by the University of California Students' Association, with representatives on all of the UC campuses. Our committee is looking forward to participating in future events to protest the cuts and preserve our education!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Meeting Monday 11am, Cafe Med

Would you like to get involved? Everyone's welcome to our working meeting tomorrow morning:
  • Monday May 19, at Cafe Med (Telegraph Avenue between Haste and Dwight), 11 a.m.

We'll be working on the final push to collect and turn in petitions to the campus administration, letter-writing to state representatives, community outreach, fund-raising and more. Please write to savekoreanstudies @ or call Dave at 510-717-2367 with any questions.

Recent media coverage

The following articles and TV news clips cover the Committee to Save East Asian Language & Korean Studies' Berkeley press conference on May 7, the rally and protest march at UC Berkeley May 8, and the Los Angeles press conference on May 16. Thank you to all the members of the media represented below!

Please comment to this post or notify us of additional stories at savekoreanstudies @