*A little background: I’m a fifth-year “supersenior” student at the University of California at Irvine (three of those years were spent at a community college). I transferred in as a French major, then became a French / Linguistics double major just before the start of Fall Quarter 2002 (i.e. last quarter). *
Just before Winter Quarter started on 3 January this year, every Linguistics student received an email asking them to make an appointment to see a particular counselor, without giving a reason. I shrugged it off until the next Monday, when I was told by another student who’d just come from her appointment that the UCI School of Social Sciences is getting rid of the entire Ling department.
Gone. Fini. I headed to the counselling office that day and was told the same thing. Next fall quarter will be the last quarter UCI offers any Linguistics courses beyond the basic breadth-requirement classes. I, like a number of other Ling majors, am in a position where I can just barely get the Ling requirements for my degree finished in time, provided they waive a certain requirement. But what about the freshman in my Sociolinguistics class, who’s only in her second quarter here and is now being told that she must choose between changing her major and transferring to another UC (which is not easy)?
And here’s another fishy thing: the students were told before the teachers were. I can’t imagine what it must be like to hear rumors filtering from your students that your job is being gotten rid of, and not be officially told until almost a week later.
Then the teachers started to hear conflicting things from Up On High. Every administrator, dean, etc. told a different story. Someone interviewing the Dean was told that no decision had been made, that the department was just under review. (This will undoubtedly be in the school paper on Tuesday.)
So. I, and every other Linguistics student I have spoken to, was told straight out by a counselor that the Department of Linguistics will be no more after Fall '03. Now all of a sudden the Dean is saying that no such thing is happening. The teachers have been told both stories as well.
Somebody is lying to us. Not misleading, not giving the wrong impression, flat out lying to our faces. About our own degrees, and in the teachers’ cases, their jobs.
In fact, many people theorize that rather than the students being forced out of the program because it’s being closed, it’s actually the other way around: the students are being “encouraged” to leave so that the program can be closed for lack of students. Forty-two Linguistics majors are getting shafted by UCI. Is forty-two too small a number to matter at a school of 24,000?
I have been lied to. My fellow students have been lied to. Reporters from the school newspaper are being lied to. Teachers are being lied to.
I am so amazingly angry at this that I can’t even throw in some colorful swear words, because none of them can possibly contain my outrage and disgust.