So the first official week of school is almost over! How has it been for all of you? Busy? Running around all over the place? Or just chilling? For me it’s been pretty busy. I’m a Chinese and Japanese double major, and I know if I hadn’t been a declared major for both of them, I would be a lot more stressed out about getting into my classes (and not being waitlisted.) Yep, that dread word—WAITLISTED. All my classes are full or overenrolled (and they all happen to be, surprise, in the EALC department). Day by day, people have been dropping like flies either to—horror of horrors, especially for a five-day-a-week-language class—eight o’clock section or simply, dropped.
It’s easy to place the blame on the most obvious target: the budget cuts. Overcrowded buses that come less frequently, libraries closed on Saturdays, sections cut, classes canceled, the rising cost of a UCB education… Yet I think that this overenrolled, overcrowded situation in many of the classes in the EALC department is not a budget crisis thing. It’s something that I’ve been seeing with the EALC department for a while now. It’s been consistently non-majors and graduate students being dropped to early morning sections, and classes growing larger and larger.
Take my Chinese 110 class for example. It’s a literary Chinese class that’s a requirement for majors and basically everyone in the class is a major or minor. You’d expect it to be full, or almost full right? Wrong. Completely overcrowded to the point where you gotta open all the windows and let the air in. Around sixty people were in class on the first day for a thirty people class. The professor teaching—Professor Ashmore—told me how he was shocked at how the class has grown since he’s last taught it a few years ago. It used to be from fifteen to twenty five people. Now the official roster is almost fifty people. In a few years. This is how fast the program has grown. Same with Japanese. My professor for Japanese 120—literary Japanese—told us how the class used to filled up two small rows of students. Now it’s over seven rows of students in a completely over enrolled class, just like the literary Chinese class. Isn’t it crazy?
You’d expect demand to be answered with supply, but instead, it’s just been answered with stuffy classroom overcrowding. It’s been this university consistently placing languages in the service education category, impervious to blatant signs of over enrollment. With the budget cuts slashing left and right, it won’t be long before overcrowding becomes downsizing what should have been expansion.