Wednesday, September 18

UCLA must save writing classes


<b>SUBMITTED BY Randy Fallows</b>

As sympathetic as I am to those administrators who have to deal with deep cuts to the UCLA budget, I strongly believe that they need to seriously reexamine their priorities.

As a lecturer in Writing Programs, I, along with the rest of my colleagues, received a one-year layoff notice last summer. Though we have received vague assurances that many of these notices will be rescinded, this has caused many of us to wonder whether those who allocate funds may eliminate our department.

Some of you might see this as a good thing, not having to write essays anymore, but I guarantee it is not. First, most graduate, law and medical schools require students to have completed both basic and advanced writing courses, and if we do not offer any, you might have to pay even more money to take them at another institution.

Secondly, all respected universities have writing requirements and eliminating these could seriously diminish the amount of respect your degree will carry.

If these courses disappear, there is no plan to substitute them with other courses making it less likely that you will be able to finish your degrees in a timely fashion.

Beyond these practical considerations, the elimination of Writing Programs would be a blow to the very soul of this university. The vast majority of students respond to our classes with glowing evaluations, pointing out how they help them to think, not just memorize, to participate in, and not just observe, their education.

Of course, there are those who would argue that these concerns have to do with teaching and should not be the priority of a research university. If UCLA is to remain a university at all, and not simply an institution of research, then we need to find ways to protect the classes basic to an undergraduate education.

Fallows is a lecturer with the Writing Programs.

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