Students advocate for language programs in De Anza budget deliberations

World language students hung handmade posters to raise awareness

May 29, 2018

De Anza College students gathered to voice their concern for the future of language programs on May 23, hanging several posters outside of the first Viability Advisory Team meeting held to discuss select programs and departments.

The Instructional Planning and Budget Team voted to send the Spanish, French, Italian and German programs to viability on May 15, taking into consideration the class fill and passing rates for each of these courses. This doesn’t guarantee elimination.

Prior to the viability meeting, students from language classes assembled to create posters bearing phrases such as “We need our language classes” and “The citizens of the future are global citizens. Stop budget cuts on [GLOBE].”

“I believe one of the primary purposes of De Anza is diversity, as we’ve taken a lot of immigrants,” said Jacob González, 20, biology major and Spanish language student. “Languages is one of the primary ways we get to speak to other people and bring them together.”

González said that language classes create interest in culture, and eliminating these programs will eliminate the voices of those cultural communities on campus.

“I believe when you eliminate one language from education, then the whole culture dies within that campus,” said Edward Truong, 18, psychology major, another student in attendance.

The IPBT has been working extensively over the past few weeks to plan for necessary cuts due to a $7.6 million increase from the original $10 million district deficit. The meetings concerning viability are closed-door, but IPBT co-chair Jim Nguyen says he plans to take students’ voices into account when making these decisions. The IPBT meetings are open to the public. At publication, the VAT had not responded to request for comment.

In the eyes of students advocates, more could be done to maintain these classes through the current budget crisis. “How can we bring in more income to balance out that deficit, it’s not about having to cut, it’s how do we make up for what we owe,” said Annette Gonzalez-Buttner, 53, paralegal studies. She voiced concern over what she perceives to be a possible effect on enrollment.

“If they do wipe out these languages classes, a lot of students are going to go to West Valley, Mission, San Jose, other community colleges,” Gonzalez-Buttner said.

IPBT will be meeting May 29 to discuss the first round of suggestions from the Viability Advisory Team, finalizing their decisions surrounding the future of these courses, which will then be forwarded to College Council.

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