SPECIAL SERIES : SF State Budget Woes
Say 'Do Svidanja' to Russian Majors, Master's Candidates?
April 19, 2004 5:34 PM
SF State’s undergraduate and graduate Russian programs are two of the proposed academic cuts that will be presented to the Academic Senate for elimination.
If approved, San Diego State University will be the only college left in the California State University system to offer a bachelor’s degree in Russian, according to the chair of the program. The Russian program still will offer a minor but the bachelor's and master's degrees will be axed.
The proposal includes slashing five undergraduate programs and five graduate programs, in order to cut $10.3 million from Academic Affairs' budget. Discontinuing the program will only save $105,000 a year, according to Catherine Siskron, a lecturer in the Russian program.
The Russian program at SF State came about as part of a reaction to the Soviet Union launching Sputnik, said foreign language department Chair Midori McKeon. “It’s had its ups and downs in enrollment in the last 50 years, but it has continuously served a great range of students,” she said.
“It’s a shame for future students,” said Judy Bonhiver, a student in second-semester Russian and office coordinator for the Marian Wright Edelman Institute at SF State. “If the state or federal government was run more efficiently then maybe the education system wouldn’t be in such dire straits.”
The possible loss of the Russian program and the $10.3 million cut is supposed to be the good news. The Office of the Chancellor says there might be an additional $72 million cut coming soon from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s budget.
Ann Lin, a SF State student majoring in Russian, was surprised to learn about the possible cut to her program. She said she heard rumors last year about the program being cut, but she hadn’t heard anything recently.
“It sounds pretty serious this time,” she said.
McKeon said the program has taken several decades to build up and that once the program has been cut, it will be very difficult to ever reinstate it. She hopes student, alumni and community support will make a difference.
“I feel like I could develop a stomach ulcer,” she said. “I know I’m not fighting a solitary battle, but it is in my heart day and night, awake or sleep.”
If the programs are discontinued, they will be phased out over several years. Currently enrolled students will be allowed to complete their degrees, but no new majors will be accepted at this time, according a press release from the university.
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