As the semester comes to a close, it also marks the end of the American Language Program (ALP) at Cal State Fullerton. Despite its 32 years of service to international students, it was deemed financially unsustainable by the current university administration.
This is a huge loss to a university that touts itself as a “comprehensive, regional university with a global outlook” that aims to foster students who “recognize their roles in an interdependent global community,” according to its mission statement and universitywide student learning goals.
The removal of the ALP not only takes CSUF’s name out of the international community as a school that offers comprehensive support to its international students, but hurts current students and staff as well.
Despite President Fram Virjee’s statement that “these are not CSUF students,” those involved in the ALP are CSUF students, as the program is part of the University of Extended Education and the International Programs and Global Engagement. This decision hurts those formerly enrolled in the program, as it forces students who are already vulnerable and overwhelmed to uproot themselves and move again to somewhere new.
It hurts the ALP faculty and staff, some of who have been involved with the program for a significant period of time and now have to find different avenues to continue their teaching.
With the closing of the ALP, CSUF graduate students who are part of the concentration called Teaching English to Students of Other Languages will also no longer be supported by an on-campus organization. Previously, they were allowed to teach classes under the supervision of an ALP professor as a part of their teaching practicum.
The administration has not released any information on how much money was saved by ending the program or plans they have for that money. But the benefits of closing this program in no way outweigh the cons.
For many people involved, the program went beyond just language acquisition and made sure each student was involved in activities on campus.
It has had a lasting global impact, which was seen through the number of letters sent to Virjee and the over 700 signatures on the Change.org petition against the closing of the program.
“When people ask what I do, I say I teach English and cultural acquisition, but what it really is, we’re teaching peace,” said Michelle Luster, a full-time ALP lecturer.
Though the decision is final, and this article can serve as nothing more than a eulogy for this long-standing program, the administration’s decision was a mistake and will do more harm than good.