Save Languages at SUNY Albany sign now

To Whom It May Concern:

We are writing to voice our concern about a recent decision to eliminate French and Italian programs for minors to PhD. from your college offerings at SUNY Albany.

These decisions, which apparently are based on economics, send the wrong message to teachers and institutions all over the state. We represent a group of more than 20 central NY high school teachers who teach college level French, Spanish and Italian to high school students. Our students receive SUNY credit for their work and our literature-based programs encourage and prepare many students for future study with a language major or minor. We are proud of the rigor we add to our programs in order to prepare students for college demands. Since we began this program five years ago, we have seen many students from our schools continue to pursue French, Spanish, or Italian at their colleges, either in further study, or in selecting their major or their minor.

When a large SUNY center proclaims that it no longer supports these fields, not only does it limit the number of students who have an interest in attending the institution of higher learning, but it also sends the wrong messages to teachers, students, and other colleges throughout the state. SUNY credit in foreign language is highly esteemed in our area of the state. Parents, students, teachers, and administrators support our programs because they prepare students for the demands of a multi-cultural world. Removing quality programs in these language fields that have been so highly regarded for so many years from a SUNY center like Albany proclaims loudly that SUNY credit in these fields is considered worthless and that these fields are not important in our world. This is ironic in light of the fact that there is a continued demand from the American job market for individuals with skills in foreign languages like French, Spanish, Italian, Russian and others. Many college language department websites across the nation quote the numbers of jobs advertised that require foreign language aptitude. There are so many other important reasons for our higher education institutions to continue supporting foreign language education. It is so saddening to see you take a step in this direction and bring down your level.

We ask you to look beyond economics in your decision making and understand your role as leaders in the SUNY system, in NY State, and even beyond those boundaries. Educators must be concerned about the total student; our colleges should be able to continue to provide quality programs that set the standard for others. Please reconsider this decision whose ramifications could discourage students from preparing for college and selecting fields which will help them to reach their fullest potential.

Institutions of higher learning like SUNY Albany have been standard bearers for many of us and programs such as these have been highly regarded by others throughout the country. We continue to look to universities like yours to provide inspiration, challenge, and the means for others to pursue their dreams.

Please do not disappoint us. Thank you for giving our concerns your immediate attention.

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Nona GarciaBy:
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Administration at SUNY Albany

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