Tension surrounding Liberal Learning bill leads to disputed vote

Tensions were high during last week’s SGA meeting regarding The New Design for the Liberal Learning bill, SGA’s contribution to the proposals for academic transformation, which was passed 25-13-4.

The bill was drafted in response to a Committee on Academic Programming (CAP) document on liberal learning.

The vote could not be delayed until a later meeting or SGA would lose its say in the upcoming academic restructuring.

The bill recommends removing foreign language from the core curriculum at the College, which was met with mixed feelings.

Almost immediately there was a motion to strike the provision.

“The College has declared new diversity goals, which we don’t believe have to necessarily be accomplished through language classes,” Jamie Gusrang, vice president of academic affairs, said. “They can more effectively be achieved through other classes.”

“I can’t believe how egocentric we can be sometimes. We are not the only people in the world,” Rohit Thawani, student trustee, said.

“I hate most of the classes I take, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to be a better student or a more well-rounded person because I take them.” He added, “In a globalized society, we need to know how to speak other languages.” However, other senators cited the largely negative public sentiment toward foreign language classes.

“I represent a group of students at this school,” John Kell, senator-at-large, said, “and out of all the people I have talked to, no one wants to keep foreign language. I’m just voting on behalf of them.”

After these exchanges, the motion to strike the foreign language provision was put to a vote, which failed 20-22-0.

In response to Gov. Jim McGreevy’s budget cuts, an e-mail was sent to all students urging them to write letters.

SGA set a goal of 3,000 letters from the College.

SGA will also sponsor a march against the budget cuts on Thursday, March 6, at the College, which will rally with a group of Rutgers at the State House in Trenton.

“It’s important to have the students moblized,” Dan Crofts, president of the Faculty Senate , said. “The faculty wants to help you, but, politically, this is your fight.”