Parlez vous?

A note to future Arts & Sciences students: come prepared with a dictionnaire, diccionario, W??rterbuch or dizionario. Foreign languages are no longer an option — they are requisite. Last spring the faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences voted in favor of this change to the requirement for the Bachelor of Arts degree. Rather than fulfilling six of seven distributional fields as is the case now, starting with incoming students in Fall 2008 all seven areas of study must be met (See story, A6). While we understand the reasoning behind the change and, generally, support it, we also have some reservations with requiring all Arts & Sciences students to pursue at least two courses in a foreign language. Frankly, there are several key benefits of learning a foreign language and to refute this would be ignorant. Study of a foreign language absolutely helps to create a more rounded and cultured individual. This study provides a mode of learning that is incredibly useful while at the same time straying from the ways we find ourselves being educated in other disciplines. And, in an ironic twist to which we feel many can attest, studying other languages can and does teach us even more about our own native tongue.So, the case for this new requirement is laden with positives, but … We are keenly aware of the many faults with this move, not the slightest among them being the simple fact that many people struggle with foreign languages — some people are naturals when it comes to picking up a new language, but for some it’s nothing short of torture. In this, we believe the changing requirement may be most difficult to palate. The existing system — fulfilling six of seven requirements — allows for an admission of weakness while still requiring a rounded curriculum. For those whose goal is to achieve honors recognition, fulfilling all seven requirements is more than fair. It is an academic exercise that is truly laud?able. Understanding the implications of this move for our fellow students, it is hard to come down upon either side of the issue. While we hope this plays out positively, we sincerely hope this is not a closed case; should students suffer under these new constraints, a revision to this new policy should be explored.