Editorial: End this now, don’t change the requirement

Our View


Eastern requires students to take two semesters of a foreign language or have completed two years of one in high school.


The Council on Academic Affairs should vote to keep the requirement as it is and not increase or otherwise alter the requirement.

The foreign language requirement has gone back and forth between the ad-hoc committee, Faculty Senate, Student Senate and the Council on Academic Affairs. CAA is voting today on the foreign language requirements.

This discussion must end now. The foreign language requirement for students to graduate should be kept at the minimum. If it is changed, Eastern students would have to spend more time and money on classes they don’t necessarily need.

The ad hoc committee decided against changing the requirements, fearing increased graduation requirements would hurt enrollment.

The requirement should stay just as it is and not increase or become the discretion of each department. The processes being considered makes enrollment and class scheduling more complicated than needed.

Increasing foreign language hours would compromise other potential classes students may need to take for accompanying graduation requirements and put students in a bind to keep total hours at or close to 120.

In November, the CAA’s foreign language ad hoc committee issued a report calling on CAA to rescind its earlier decision, which would raise the required number of foreign language semesters from two to three.

“We did not want to establish a precedent that we, as a matter of procedure, would second-guess ourselves on matters of policy that had been voted on,” said Les Hyder, chair of the ad hoc committee, about how the decision was reached.

Hyder said the committee decided to reconsider the policy, since both Provost Blair Lord and President Bill Perry had expressed concerns about the change.

“We felt that the provost and the president raised some valid concerns,” Hyder said. “We appreciated the spirit in which they responded.”

Hyder said the committee first debated reconsidering a policy that CAA had already approved.

“Our gut feeling .unanimously. was that it’s going to have an adverse effect on enrollment,” Hyder said. “We cannot afford to have fewer students. not in this economic climate and this (level of) state support.”

Senate member Andrew White said many of his students opposed the change, especially transfer students who said the change might have stopped their move to Eastern.

Hyder said the committee also wants CAA to encourage departments to set their own foreign language requirements to meet students’ needs.

“This is not something that has to take two years,” Hyder said. “If departments don’t know what the needs of their students are, then it’s about time they start looking at that.”

Students should not have to spend extra money and time on courses that they already took in high school. Also, changing the requirements could detract prospective students, including transfer students. Therefore, each department should not set their own requirements.