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Thread: Emergency. Slavic Program is being cut.

  1. #1
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    Emergency. Slavic Program is being cut.

    Dear friends and colleagues,

    I would like to request your help in saving the Slavic/Russian program at the Florida State University. It is being cut along with 21 other "underperforming" departments at the university. However, in actuality, the program is anything but underperforming. Its three faculty members are some of the most respected and prolific Slavic scholars in North America: they do research and teach in Russian, Ukrainian, Czech, Serbian and Romanian. The Russian language courses at the department are consistently filled to (and sometimes over) the limit. I should know, I used to teach them. The department regularly graduates both undergraduate and Master's students. At this time, recent department graduates are pursuing PhD degrees in such prestigious institutions as Harvard and the University of Toronto.

    It is clear that the main reason the department is being cut is the fact that it is a Slavic Department. Slavic studies is being treated as a marginal and expendable discipline. What kind of university is it going to be that will offer its students neither Russian nor Ukrainian language courses nor literature courses that cover such works as Crime and Punishment and War and Peace?

    I would like to ask for your support in signing an on-line petition to the Florida State University Administration. The petition aims to draw attention to the importance of Russian and other Slavic languages in general and to the excellent performance of FSU's Slavic division in particular. Please, see the text of the petition for more details on the issue. In the long-run and as a matter of principle, the fate of all Slavic studies in North America is on trial here. Please, show your support.

    http://www.thepetitionsite.com/31/prote ... ram-at-fsu

    Many thanks!

  2. #2
    Завсегдатай it-ogo's Avatar
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    Re: Emergency. Slavic Program is being cut.

    Hmm... At least they have a good reason to cut Romanian study as Romanian is not Slavic language.
    "Россия для русских" - это неправильно. Остальные-то чем лучше?

  3. #3
    Завсегдатай chaika's Avatar
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    Re: Emergency. Slavic Program is being cut.

    You know, I wrote what I thought was a good little paragraph in support of you, but then the site required my street address. I was willing to give out an email address, but as for the street address - no reason for that as I can see, and I don't want to give that kind of information out, so I just closed the window.

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    Re: Emergency. Slavic Program is being cut.

    Dear Chaika,
    Thank you for your willingness to support the cause. I am sorry that you had to withdraw from signing the petition. The thing about any petition is that it is a powerful social instrument, but only if the signatures are verifiable. This is the reason they ask for your actual address. If you look at the privacy statement and the terms of use of the petition web-site, you will see that they do not display or disclose your address. In fact, they are regulated by a the government. The only time your address would potentially be used is if the validity of signatures was challenged and an arbitrator needed to contact you to verify your particular signature. What is displayed in place of your signature is your name (you can actually choose for it not to appear) and your state or country.

    I have signed two other petitions through the same site in the past and have not had any issues and have never been contacted by them. In fact, before signing a petition for the first time, I did a search on Google for any "consumer alerts" and did not find any warnings or negative feedback. I hope that this information helps to persuade you to add your signature. I am not affiliated with the department, but I think that it is an important cause.

    Best,
    DiMao

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    Re: Emergency. Slavic Program is being cut.

    Quote Originally Posted by it-ogo
    Hmm... At least they have a good reason to cut Romanian study as Romanian is not Slavic language.
    Romanian is not really taught at the department, but one of the faculty members has contributed some research in that language. Research and publications constitute at least 50% of the faculty's responsibilities, so the fact that they publish on such a great range of topics and are able to do comparative study speaks very much in their favor.

  6. #6
    Почтенный гражданин studyr's Avatar
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    Re: Emergency. Slavic Program is being cut.

    Quote Originally Posted by chaika
    You know, I wrote what I thought was a good little paragraph in support of you, but then the site required my street address. I was willing to give out an email address, but as for the street address - no reason for that as I can see, and I don't want to give that kind of information out, so I just closed the window.
    I gave just house number not of apartment.

  7. #7
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    Re: Emergency. Slavic Program is being cut.

    I am reading the petition and it says

    "Our recent graduates are currently employed in the State Department, Defense Language Institute and Department of Defense."

    So, if the Slavic department is closed, the Department of Defense will feel the sting? Yes, Russians should really be concerned

    This kind of decisions are not made on a whim. Operating costs may be small, but the cost of tenure positions if not supported by grants can take a big chunk out of the budget.

    I don't study or teach at FSU and never will, I am not a part of FSU administration who has to deal with budget issues, and frankly I don't see how it's any of my business. People who sign this petition should be sowehow relevant, or the petition's impact will be reduced to nonexistent.

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    Почтенный гражданин Winifred's Avatar
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    Re: Emergency. Slavic Program is being cut.

    For those who do not wish to leave their address, here's an alternative: I wrote to the department at FSU directly, to check out whether the funding cut petition was legitimate. As you can see from the answer, the threat is real, and it makes me angry - this point in history, with world-wide communication possible among ordinary people, is no time to cut back on languages!!!!!

    But, Professor Romanchuk sent me a list of legislators to contact. We noisy Americans contact them often, and, with enough emails, letters, etc, they listen.

    Here's the correspondence, the professor's answer first (minus my name!), then my query. For those just learning English, I've highlighted the important sentences: red = важно

    Dear Winifred,
    Thank you for your letter of support!

    Indeed, in response to the budget crisis in Florida, FSU's administration has published a list of 21 programs that could be closed, among them Slavic (with focus on Russian language and culture) and German. If our legislature does not allocate sufficient funds, there is a good chance that these programs will disappear from the university.

    Please sign and circulate our petitions:
    http://www.thepetitionsite.com/31/prote ... ram-at-fsu
    http://www.thepetitionsite.com/33/prote ... ram-at-fsu
    Include information about your interest in Russian and German.

    Finally, very well-placed sources indicate that higher education supporters’ calls and e-mails are having an impact. Those sources further indicate that it is IMPERATIVE that contacts focus NOW on the six legislators listed below. Please call or write to these legislators now to urge that new funding sources be developed to support higher education and avoid devastating cuts.

    Thank you for your help with this urgent matter!
    Best, Robert Romanchuk

    Budget Conference – Higher Education/Schools & Learning
    House Members
    *Bill Proctor, Chair (R – St Augustine)
    bill.proctor@myfloridahouse.gov
    850-488-2977

    Steve Precourt, V. Chair (R – Winter Garden)
    Steve.precourt@myfloridahouse.gov
    850-488-0256

    Rachel Burgin (R – Tampa)
    Rachel.burgin@myfloridahouse.gov
    850-488-9910

    Marlene O’Toole (R – The Villages)
    Marlene.otoole@myfloridahouse.gov
    850-488-5991

    Pat Patterson (R – Deland)
    Pat.patterson@myfloridahouse.gov
    850-488-9873

    Chris Dorworth (R – Heathrow)
    chris.dorworth@myfloridahouse.gov
    850-488-5843

    Names with asterix “ * “ are FSU alumni.

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: Winifred
    Date: Tuesday, April 21, 2009 9:36 pm
    Subject: Russian Language funding cut?
    To: rromanchuk@fsu.edu

    > Greetings.
    >
    > I'm interested in whether your Russian language department is really being considered for a serious cut in funding at Florida State.
    >
    > I have been trying to learn Russian (it's my heritage), but, it's very difficult to find - I took a course at ----- this past year, which they have subsequently deleted. I'm hoping that a rumor that your Russian department is in jeopardy is
    > false: <http://masterrussian.net/mforum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=17138ink>http://masterrussian.net/mforum/view...f=1&t=17138ink
    >
    >
    > As you can see, there is some suspicion about the posting being spam, so I thought I'd write and find out.
    >
    > I hope it is a false rumor. I think one of the reasons there is so much trouble in the Mideast is a lack of understanding - of the culture, the language, the geography. Communication is the key to understanding.
    >
    Why learn Russian?
    >
    1) Extremely rich cultural history - literary, poetic, musical, dance: Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Pushkin, Ahkmahtova, Mayakovsky, Tschaikovsky, Vysotsky, Nijinsky, etc., etc.
    >
    2) Interesting alternate view of the history of the 20th century. Healthy for a democracy to keep in touch with alternate views. (see above, on the failure of keeping in touch with Islamic/Arabic views).
    >
    3) I think it is very important to keep in touch with a country sitting on natural resources as vast as ours, right on top of a burgeoning China. We are idiots if we let communication with either Russia or China (or India) lapse at this point in world history.
    >
    Just my off-the-cuff response - lots more, if this rumor is true and you need outraged letters.
    >
    Please let me know.
    >
    Thank you,
    Winifred
    >
    >

    Robert Romanchuk
    Associate Professor of Slavic
    Florida State University
    Department of Modern Languages
    362 Diffenbaugh
    Tallahassee FL 32306-1540
    Correct my Russian, please! Пожалуйста, исправьте мои ошибки!

    Помогите мирy oдним щелчком ! Help the world with one click!
    http://www.thehungersite.com/clickTo...s_home_sitenav

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