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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

FRC: Dont cut ancient Greek

Published: March 4, 2005
Section: News

The FRC strongly recommended against Jaffes proposal to eliminate the teaching of ancient Greek.

The elimination of Greek would have profoundly negative consequences on the viability of the programs in the Department of Classical Studies and on studies in interconnected areas, the FRC wrote. Greek is the foundation of the study of Classics;

to lose it would mean that students majoring in Classical Studies at Brandeis would not be able to acquire the necessary preparation to enable them to apply to any graduate program in the field of Classics in the country.

The FRC stated that the future gain from eliminating Greek does not appear to justify such a radical change in the liberal arts mission of Brandeis.

Phasing out Greek would be, and indeed has already been, taken by undergraduates, alumni, and other outside writers as a sign, at the very least, that Brandeis is engaged in a radical shift away from the Humanities and toward strengthening areas that have recently become more appealing to some students for their more immediate or practical relevance, the FRC report read. Since the loss of Greek involves so few courses (2 per year), the cost-effect ratio cannot be seen as a burdensome financial weight to the University.

In his proposal to phase out Ancient Greek as a language, Jaffe points to it typically having the lowest enrollment of all the languages Brandeis offers. The FRC found that Greek did it in fact have a low enrollment when compared to modern languages but not the lowest when compared to other languages. Languages with lower enrollments included Aramaic, Ugaritic, Akkadian, Hittite and Assyrian while languages with similar enrollment included Latin, Yiddish and Italian. The FRC stated that enrollment in the 10 level Greek class has increased every year over the last four while enrollment in level 10 and 20 courses shows a drop off. The reported stated that this is consistent with other schools.