Save the Bethel College Language Departments
We, the undersigned, wish to express our concerns regarding the decision made by the Bethel College Administration and Board of Directors which eliminated both the German and Spanish majors, among other programs, and would ask that this decision be rescinded. These language programs, which are an integral part of a liberal arts education, were cost effective, contributed significantly to general education offerings, and had sufficient student interest for maintaining a viable program. Further ramifications of this decision involve the Bethel/Wuppertal Exchange Program, a unique program established in 1951. Without the possibility of completing a German major, Bethel students will not participate in the program thus leading to its demise. Likewise participation in study abroad experiences in Spanish-speaking countries will be severely curtailed, forcing students interested in a study abroad experience to participate in programs located in English-speaking countries. In the 21st century it is crucial that persons be equipped with the tools required for living in an ever-increasing global society – tools required in business, in peace and conflict resolution, in education, in research, in cross cultural understanding, etc. As E. Bialystock states in an article titled Bilingual Minds bilingualism is a necessity:
Students who recognize the need for more than rudimentary foreign language skills and desire to enroll at Bethel are now forced attend other colleges or universities in order to become bilingual. We therefore ask that there be a reconsideration of these cuts, especially in light of the Bethel College mission which states in the college catalog that the "college offers majors in the traditional liberal arts disciplines and selected career areas."