Monday, March 28, 2011

Asian American Studies in Jeopardy

Christine McFadden writes for Pacific Citizen:

Rachel Gounder, a senior majoring in Asian American Studies at the University of Texas, Austin, might be one of the last students at UT to graduate with a degree in her field.

A proposed budget bill currently sits in the Texas Senate threatening to cut the UT budget by a staggering $65 million for the 2012-13 year, netting a loss of $3.5 million for the college of liberal arts and the potential elimination of the Asian American Studies department, according to ABC News.

Gounder, who is South Asian, participated in a march to the Texas State Capitol.

“There’s definitely a group of students who are very passionate about these budget cuts and don’t want to see it happen,” she said.

But Gounder believes that the program is as good as gone. She cites an e-mail sent to students by the dean of the college of liberal arts affirming budget preservations for other programs on the chopping block, such as Mexican American and African American Studies, but without any mention of Asian American Studies.

“We’re definitely being cut,” she said. “Which is sad — we’re a growing center.”

Gounder is lucky to have the opportunity to graduate with an Asian American Studies degree, as UT is certainly not alone in facing threats to their ethnic studies departments. Cal State, Los Angeles faces the suspension of their Asian and Asian American Studies Department, and schools such as the University of Pennsylvania have previously faced large cuts to their program. Read more...

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