Campaign calls for Arabic class offerings

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Julianne Lesch, Staff Writer

A UVM student is fighting to bring Arabic back to campus since no formal classes have been taught since 2017.

Khalid AlMubarak, a continuing education student and native Arabic speaker, is now offering tutoring opportunities on campus for students to learn Arabic.

UVM lost its only Arabic professor in 2017, according to a September 2017 Cynic article. Since then, there has been a great interest among students to continue learning the language, AlMubarack said.

Last year, AlMubarak started a campaign called Bring Back Arabic where he and other students met with Bill Falls, the  dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, to discuss the need for Arabic on campus.

UVM has reached out to universities like Middlebury College to try and contract a professor locally, without success, Falls said.

Currently, there are no confirmed courses in Arabic, although the University is still in the process of searching, he said.

“Since late November of last year, SGA passed a resolution urging the University to reinstate the teaching of Arabic,” Falls said.

Over 350 students signed a petition for the Bring Back Arabic campaign in support of the initiative, which was backed by SGA, AlMubarack said.   

“I don’t think it’s a good look for UVM to be disregarding Arabic,” said sophomore Hannah Rose, a member of Bring Back Arabic. “We already have an issue with diversity on this campus, and I think that stretched to diversity of languages and culture.”

Having an Arabic program can help students both professionally and intellectually, history professor Bogac Ergene said.

“It’s not necessarily only an intellectual investment on their part. Many students consider this as a professional investment, too,” Ergene said.

Disclaimer: AlMubarak has previously written for the Cynic.

This story updated at 3:47 p.m. March 25 to include the following correction: Sophomore Ali Barritt also helped lead the Arabic movement alongside AlMubarack.