Bruttissima notizia per chi ci lavora, ma brutta anche per chi non ci lavora. Se volete protestare, ecco il testo della mia email, da spedire a: presmail [chiocciolina] uamail.albany.edu, cherman [chiocciolina] uamail.albany.edu, provost [chiocciolina] uamail.albany.edu, ewulfert [chiocciolina] uamail.albany.edu:
Dear President Philip,
As a member of the Italian Studies Department of the University of Toronto, and as an Italian writer and journalist, I want to express our incredulity at the news of the termination of the French, Italian and Russian programs at your institutions. The academic and intellectual community is appalled. This decision shows education is slipping lower and lower in the scale of your country’s priorities. President Obama’s message on the importance of education, emphasized in his speech given at the university of Texas to this audience last month must have gone unheard in the northeast. What appalls me the most is that in this way you are directly endorsing Premier Berlusconi’s attitude against education, emphasized by his Government’s cuts against research, teachers, universities and schools. This is not the solution, President Philip, this is the wrong thing to do.
If leaders in higher education do not realize the importance of the teaching of foreign languages and cultures in this day and age, it means that “malerrima tempora currunt”, as the Romans used to say. In a day when borders between countries are less and less meaningful, when contacts with the most diverse peoples are instantaneous, the knowledge of foreign languages and cultures becomes paramount. No one can live in isolation, no one can continue to uphold the mentality of English as the colonizing language. “Monolingualism can be cured”, as Anthony Mollica once wrote, but in order to do that, you need to save French, Italian and Russian at your institutions.
What shocked us most was that such a dangerous decision should be made in New York, a state that is made of and by immigrants and one that should take the lead in American education.
We strongly protest this decision and hope that it will be revoked for the good of your institution and for that of your country.