NATIONAL NEWS

West Virginia University recommends keeping some language classes, moving forward with axing majors

Aug 29, 2023, 2:52 PM

West Virginia University students lead a protest against cuts to programs in world languages, creat...

West Virginia University students lead a protest against cuts to programs in world languages, creative writing and more amid a $45 million budget deficit outside Stewart Hall in Morgantown, W.Va., on Monday, Aug. 21, 2023. (AP Photo/Leah Willingham)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Leah Willingham)

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia University plans to eliminate its world languages department but is recommending retaining five teaching positions and letting students take some language courses as electives, the university announced Tuesday as it faces a $45 million budget shortfall.

The office of the provost for the state’s flagship university also said it is proposing slashing bachelor’s degrees in French and Spanish along with Chinese, German and Russian studies and master’s programs in linguistics and teaching English to speakers of other languages.

Amid declining enrollment and the budget shortfall, the school announced earlier this month that it was reviewing the possibility of cutting its Department of World Languages, Literatures and Linguistics. The announcement sparked criticism and a protest last week from students and faculty.

After an appeal hearing Aug. 25, the university’s office of the provost announced Tuesday it planned to go forward with the recommendation.

The university did, however, say that after the appeal it is recommending preserving some face-to-face instruction in two languages: Spanish and Chinese. The university said its recommending that five faculty focused on teaching those languages stay on in a different department. The university’s preliminary recommendations released earlier this month would have eliminated all 24 world languages positions.

A final decision is to be made by the institution’s board of governors in September.

In a statement Tuesday, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Maryanne Reed said the school listened to students’ feedback about the importance of face-to-face language instruction.

“While we are committed to providing some language instruction on campus, we will continue to explore additional language learning opportunities, such as establishing curriculum partnerships with other universities,” she said. “Further, we will seek to create greater access to study abroad opportunities, where students can gain language proficiency through immersive experiences.”

Just one first-time undergraduate was enrolled as a primary major in languages this fall. That figure excludes students who have declared double majors.

West Virginia University on Aug. 11 recommended the elimination of 32, or 9%, of the majors offered on its Morgantown campus along with a wide-ranging reduction in faculty to address its budget shortfall, which officials say could grow to $75 million in the next five years.

A dozen majors are recommended to be axed are undergraduate-level, while 20 are graduate-level majors. The university said the proposed cuts would represent a total of 434 students, or 2% of its total enrollment.

Among the proposed cuts in other master’s degree programs include acting, creative writing, higher education administration and multi-categorical special education, legal studies and public administration.

National News

Image: President Joe Biden speaks at the 2024 Prosperity Summit on Tuesday, July 16, 2024, in North...

Associated Press

Democrats aim to nominate president in early August as poll shows desire for Biden to exit race

Democrats will look to hold a virtual vote to make President Joe Biden their party’s nominee in the first week of August.

4 minutes ago

This image provided by Naval History and Heritage Command, shows African American Sailors of a nava...

Associated Press

Navy exonerates 256 Black sailors unjustly punished in 1944 after a deadly California port explosion

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Navy has exonerated 256 Black sailors who were found to be unjustly punished in 1944 following a horrific port explosion that killed hundreds of service members and exposed racist double standards among the then-segregated ranks. On July 17, 1944, munitions being loaded onto a cargo ship detonated, causing secondary blasts […]

18 minutes ago

Associated Press

Sheriff’s deputies fatally shoot 2 people while serving a warrant in Georgia

ALTO, Ga. (AP) — Sheriff’s deputies who were serving a warrant in another county shot and killed two people in northeast Georgia on Tuesday. The Forysth County Sheriff’s Office said deputies were serving an arrest warrant on a sex offender for violating the conditions of his probation in the Banks County town of Alto. The […]

52 minutes ago

Associated Press

A meteor streaked across the NYC skyline before disintegrating over New Jersey

NEW YORK (AP) — A meteor streaked across the New York City skyline before disintegrating over nearby New Jersey, according to NASA. William Cooke, the head of the space agency’s Meteoroid Environments Office, said the fireball was first sighted at an altitude of 51 miles (82 kilometers) above Manhattan at around 11:17 a.m. Tuesday. The […]

1 hour ago

A fire burns at the Warren Grove Air To Ground Range, Tuesday, July 16, 2024. in Bass River Townshi...

Associated Press

Forest fire at New Jersey military base 80% contained after overnight rain

BASS RIVER, N.J. (AP) — Heavy rain overnight helped firefighters gain more control over a forest fire burning at a military bombing range in southern New Jersey. Fire officials said Wednesday that half an inch (1.3 centimeters) of rain fell overnight at the Warren Grove Air to Ground Range, a training facility for the New […]

1 hour ago

FILE - Former Trump White House advisor Peter Navarro speaks to the media as he leaves federal cour...

Associated Press

Ex-Trump adviser Peter Navarro is released from prison and is headed to Milwaukee to address the RNC

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Former Trump White House official Peter Navarro was released from prison on Wednesday after completing his sentence for a contempt of Congress conviction and is expected to speak hours later at the Republican National Convention. Navarro, who served as a White House trade adviser under President Donald Trump, was freed from custody […]

2 hours ago

West Virginia University recommends keeping some language classes, moving forward with axing majors