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Informing the  Berea and Baldwin Wallace University Communities Since 1913

The Exponent

Informing the  Berea and Baldwin Wallace University Communities Since 1913

The Exponent

Informing the  Berea and Baldwin Wallace University Communities Since 1913

The Exponent

Chinese language classes return to campus thanks to student demand and petitions

“Once you learn a new language, you will be able to consume the media in that language and hence discover a whole new world and a wealth of information. Isn’t it cool?” said Huixin Deng, assistant professor of journalism.
Hannah Sim
Elanna Su (left) and Emma Liu (right) both took Chinese 101 at BW.

On-campus Chinese language courses were cut for the Spring 2024 semester due to budget deficits. Now, these classes are coming back.

In Fall 2023, Elanna Su, a sophomore history student, and Kahle Alford, an adult student continuing her education with an undecided major, had emailed faculty and asked Chinese 102 to be offered in Spring 2024. At that time, Karen Barahona, the chair of the Department of Languages, had also reached out to students enrolled in Chinese 101 via email and in-person discussions to see how many of them would be able to take Chinese 102 in Spring 2024. Despite their advocacy, Chinese 102 was ultimately moved online, to be offered at Austin Community College.

Alford said she felt that this way of surveying the students was “time-limited and inefficient” and that she felt the school did not care about the students’ opinions.

“I also felt like they made the decision and pretended they were asking everyones’ opinions or the students’ opinions,” Alford said.

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At the request of Barahona, Elanna Su created petitions to reflect student interest in Chinese 101 and 102 classes. With students’ petitions, Chinese 101 has been put back on the list of in-person classes for Fall 2024.

“It’s important to not let the class fade away,” Su said, “We can’t just let it— something that’s so pivotal to diversity, to understanding other people— disappear. Without a word, without a fight.”

In an email to The Exponent, BW’s Director of Core Curriculum Indira Gesink said that Chinese language classes had already st r ug g le d to maintain enrollment.

“This year there were a significant number of students who wanted to take the language … when there were students who wanted to take the language, we decided not to offer it,” Gesink said.

“So many Americans have a negative association with anything Chinese is one of the reasons that this class needs to be here… People need to be educated and have positive associations with the language, with the culture,” Alford said, following a statement on how COVID-19 negatively affected the Asian populations in the United States.

Alford said she highly recommends students take Chinese 102 in-person at BW because the online Chinese language classes offered at Austin Community College were “no way equal on any level” to her experience with in-person classes.

Chinese 101 is available in person for students to sign up for the Fall 2024 semester.

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