Temple’s decision to cut the Hebrew studies major is contradictory to its dedication to diversity.
When students return to school next semester, a humbly sized group of students will be unable to participate in the university’s Hebrew program as it currently stands. Majoring in the language will no longer be an option to students.
As Khoury Johnson reports on Page 1, the university decided to cut the major because of low participation in upper-level courses and a shrinking budget.
The Temple News understands making tough decisions that will, hopefully, have the least impact on the student body’s ability to learn in areas of their choice. But the Hebrew program, six decades running, is one of Temple’s small gems of the diversity that officials tout when marketing the university.
With the recent opening of the $8 million Edward H. Rosen Hillel Center for Jewish Life, named in the generosity of Trustee Edward Rosen, offering a hub for Jewish students and those interested in studying Judaism, the program’s suspension is a step back in the university’s appeal to these prospective students.
But the most baffling part of the decision, to The Temple News, is in the university’s apparent one-sided conversation. Professors in the program contend they weren’t consulted before the decision, and the suspension was news to students in the program, too.
Faculty and students should be the first to know when the suspending, collapsing – or anything of the like – of a program is being put on the table.
Some, like Corey Bass, a Jewish studies and Hebrew major, who plans on working with Jewish youth, use the program is a stepping stone for career goals.
Sure, future students will undoubtedly learn to live without the major – or study elsewhere – but that’s not to say the education offered in the courses wouldn’t have bolstered their career ambitions and Temple’s dedication to diversification.