Sunday, February 8, 2009

New blog: API Education and Languages NOW!

A new blog, entitled "API Education and Languages NOW!", has been created by the new ASUC-sponsored student group of the same name. This group includes many members of the 2008 ad-hoc coalition to Save East Asian Languages and Korean Studies at Berkeley; it aims to further the cause of Asian and Pacific Islander Education and Languages in the face of ongoing budget cuts and institutional restructuring that place languages, especially those historically underrepresented, at risk. Please check back at the new blog frequently.

This blog will continue to exist as it is. Please direct any inquiries to "apielnow AT".

A big thank-you to everyone for their continued support!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Update: Save Korean Studies at UCLA

Hello everyone! As many people from Berkeley are in Southern California on vacation and UCLA students are up north, it's a good time to share information about what's happening elsewhere. The Save Korean Studies at UCLA group has been active for the last few months are is in the middle of an email campaign to save faculty positions and fight cuts to the language program. We're forwarding their intro message to the Facebook group below--please join and pass the word along to friends and family.
Dear Students and Korean Studies Community:

The Korean studies program at UCLA in particular and Asian Studies in the UC in general are under great threat from recent state budget cuts ( It is urgent that students come together to act upon this situation!

The language programs, including Chinese, Korean, and Japanese (not to mention the others), have been suffering from "downsizing" for years, and more cuts have recently been announced. Each year, more and more students are turned away from courses because of such cuts. The administration has also decided to close the one and only faculty position in Korean literature this year. Programs like Korean studies become easy targets during such times of crisis because of its marginal position from the administration's perspective. What is happening is affecting the quality of the entire department of Asian Languages and Cultures.
It is now time for the students to get involved and register their discontent with the administration at the UC and to state officials for the sake of the future of the program! You can make a difference by registering your discontent and signing and circulating the online petition and by raising awareness in various ways! I believe that the students have the most powerful voice and case to bring to the administration's attention at this time. Please contact me if you would like to take an active role in this movement. Thank you for your support!

Signed, Amy Lee and the Student Coalition to Save Asian Studies @ UCLA


Friday, July 25, 2008

OB Chicken Town Fundraiser A Success!

On June 23, 2008, the CSEALKS organized a very successful fundraiser at OB Chicken Town, raising close to $20,000. Kwang Jin Kang of OB Chicken Town and Sarah Kim-Lee, fundraising extraordinaire, hosted the event. Not only did Mr. Kang volunteer his restaurant and staff, he also generously donated all proceeds from food and drink sales that evening.

The program was filled with inspirational and supportive speeches from the community. Jun Hyung Kim was a fabulous emcee. Ben Lickly impressed the crowd by giving his testimonial in Korean. Alan Tansman expressed his commitment to develop Korean Studies at Berkeley in his capacity as chair of the East Asian Languages & Cultures department.

The following represents a partial list of businesses and organizations that have made donations:

CA Kwang Bok Association
Global Children’s Foundation SF
Koreana Plaza
Law Offices of Esra Jung
N.CA Drycleaners’ Association
OB Chicken Town
Sahn Maru
Silicon Valley Korean School
Todd and Eleanor Yun Fund

These donations are in addition to gifts we have already received from the following groups:

Contra Costa Korean Presbyterian Church
Edge Hair Salon
Korean American East Bay Chamber of Commerce
Korean Buddhist Temple Sambosa
Koryo Zazang
Ohgane Restaurant
Woosung America

If you happen to patronize these businesses or visit these organizations, please let them know how much we appreciated their support. For news coverage (in Korean) on the fundraiser, please visit our media links.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Fundraising Dinner

On Monday, June 23 (tomorrow) at OB Chicken Town in Oakland Koreatown, we will be having a fundraiser for the Korean language classes with members of the local Korean-American community.

The event is invitation-only, but members of the media are encouraged to contact Jun Hyung Kim (510-292-5356) or Christine Hong (510-658-3310).

Friday, June 13, 2008

meeting friday, 2pm

hi everyone,

sorry this notice comes so late. the committee to save east asian languages and korean studies will be holding our next report-back and planning meeting tomorrow. the details are as follows:

time: 2 friday, 6/13
place: upstairs, cafe med on telegraph (across the
street from moe's)

at the top of our agenda for tomorrow is an upcoming fundraiser, slated for monday, 6/23, that we're organizing with key members of the local korean american community. the fundraiser will be held at ob chicken town on telegraph. we'll also plan mailing sessions for the local japanese and korean communities as well as summer-school class visits starting next week.

as usual, our meetings are open, and we welcome your attendance, input, and concern. according to alan tansman (ealc chair) on monday, the berkeley budget will be finalized in mid-july (not mid-june, as we'd previously expected). at that point, we should expect some transparency in the across-the-board budgetary picture, but the for the time being, our knowledge comes from what we've been able to learn on a piecemeal basis. we know that asian languages were hit particularly hard--no one denies this--and we know that english gsis stand to be severely impacted, as well. at our meetings, we welcome the reports of folks who are working to fight the cuts to sseas, ethnic studies, english, and other departments, so please feel free to join us.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

More news soon...

Apologies to our reader community for the lack of recent posts... summer vacation is upon us, and those people who are able to work in Berkeley, the LA area, and other places have all been super busy recently. Thank you all, volunteers and members of the community, for your ongoing interest and support.

The budget crisis is far from over and we'll have more updates soon about activities and news. We know there have been several articles recently in English, Korean, Chinese, and Japanese language media. Please send them on to us so we can post them here - you can comment to this post or mail them to "savekoreanstudies AT".

If you haven't seen it yet, please also check out the latest from UC Berkeley administrators about the budget situation, posted to the Berkeley website yesterday: "From Sacramento, good news, bad news for Berkeley budget".

Monday, June 9, 2008

The costs of instruction - a few goals and numbers

It's difficult to quantify what our education costs but this budget crisis has forced us to do just that. And as we conduct outreach to our friends, families, local communities, and the public at large, we often need to break down the larger figures into numbers that connect directly to our everyday experiences in class.

Our fundraising goals are divided into the long-term and the short-term. For the long term (on a scale of years), we seek endowments and other (more) secure, budget-item sources of funding for language instruction at Berkeley, for the languages within the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, and especially for languages that have been traditionally marginalized in their larger institutional contexts, like Korean. The costs of attaining these goals are in the range of millions of dollars; discussing these goals is one of the tasks of our committee for the summer and fall this year.

In the short-term, we're trying to raise $500,000 for the 13 lecturers in Korean, Japanese and Chinese who have been informed that their jobs may not be renewed for the Fall 2008 semester. While figures are not exact, we have the most clarity about the how the number of lost instructional positions translates into class cuts for the Korean language program; it is probably similar for Chinese, Japanese and other languages as well.

Because 3 out of 5 of the returning Korean lecturer positions are threatened, we have been told that the Department of EALC may only be able to sustain 5 semester-long Korean language classes in the 2008-9 academic year. This is a drop of 22 classes from the 2007-8 academic year, when there were 27 class sections. The cost of preserving the three instruction positions and saving 22 sections of Korean language instruction has been estimated at $200,000. This means that the cost of preserving one class is about $9,100. Since each class lasts approximately 15 weeks and is taught 5 days per week, saving one hour of instruction would cost about $120--or, assuming a class of 20 students, $6 per student for each hour of instruction.

Of course, these figures are quite rough--if you have information that helps to clarify or expand upon them, please do share it. Please also feel free to use these numbers in your own fund-raising efforts.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Meeting Friday 9am--all welcome

Hi everyone,

We just wanted to give you all a heads-up on our next report-back and planning meeting. we'll be meeting quite early (9 a.m.) on friday, but cafe med serves a mean breakfast. the details of our meeting are as follows:

time: 9 a.m.
date: friday, 6/6
place: cafe med (on telegraph, across the street from moe's, upstairs as usual)

our meetings are open, and we welcome anyone interested in attending. now that we're between sessions (i.e., the end of spring semester and the onset of the various summer sessions), our numbers have drastically dwindled, and we definitely could benefit from your creative energy and contributions to our activities. as we move into summer, we're not only collectively brainstorming and developing creative outreach strategies, but also, actively pounding the pavement in neighborhoods within the bay area. please join us.

see you this friday!

Testimonial from Julia Kwon

For me, college has been a time to learn a language that I grew up with in a formal setting. The Korean department's effective program and knowledgeable teachers have allowed me to correct many of the mistakes that hindered me from using my Korean in more professional settings. Not only that, but now I can write a letter to my grandparents, who only know Korean. As mundane as that may sound, it is a skill that I did not have before taking Korean languages at Berkeley. In fact, some of most valuable experiences at Berkeley have come from taking Korean classes. There is NO REASON to cut back EALC language classes, and MANY REASONS not only to keep the program, but also to build it up. Furthermore, Berkeley should be PROUD of having such highly recommended classes and instruction from wonderful professors.

Completing my first course, K1BX, is what sparked my interest to enroll in more classes. The summer course, K10AB, was phenomenal! My language skills improved dramatically after just one summer. It is no wonder that students prepare for study abroad by enrolling in these very language classes. As a result, cutting EALC classes would be wrongly assuming that EA countries are not sought out destinations for learning and working.

Many of my fellow classmates, who are enthusiastic about learning Korean, are not L&S students. Thus, limiting classes to only L&S majors would be excluding a chunk of our school population who has a DESIRE to learn new languages. For reasons such as these, Berkeley should be offering MORE classes not less.
-- Julia Kwon, Development Studies major (juliakwon AT

UCLA students protest cuts

Students at UCLA have begun to protest the deep impact of the state education budget cuts on the Korean and other Asian language programs there; according to UCLA students, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Filipino, Vietnamese, and Indonesian languages are among those hit particularly hard.

A petition entitled Save Korean/Asian Language and Culture Programs has been set up, as has a Facebook page called "Save Korean Studies". Their group email address is "saveasianstudiesucla AT". Please help out by signing their petition and joining their group.

We look forward to hearing more about their work and opportunities for collaboration. Good luck everyone!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Meeting tomorrow

Hi everyone,

Our next planning meeting will be tomorrow. The details are as follows:

Time: 10 a.m.
Date: Wednesday, 6/4
Place: Cafe Med. (on Telegraph, across the street from moe's between Haste and Dwight, upstairs as usual)

We greatly welcome the presence of anyone interested in attending.

Monday, June 2, 2008

YTN television coverage

If you haven't seen it already, please check out the substantial coverage given to the budget cuts and activity of this committee in support of the Korean, Japanese, and Chinese programs at Berkeley in a recent news piece by YTN in Korea: "버클리대 '한국어과'를 살리자!" (From UC Berkeley: 'Save the Korean Program!')

Many thanks to Will, Professor An, Christine, Ben, Chulha and Jun for translation, and Sunhae Kim of YTN.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Testimonial from Jacob Rogers

I'm a sophomore majoring in history and trying to get a minor in Japanese. I'm finishing Japanese 10b right now, but if Japanese courses are cut I may not be able to complete my minor and still graduate in four years. Japanese has let me learn about another culture and broaden my way of thinking, which is key with the way our world has become globalized. While I would be sorely disappointed if I can't finish my minor, I think it's a greater travesty that the flagship university for the entire West Coast can't offer four years of language to any interested students.
-- Jacob Rogers, History major, Japanese minor (intended)

Friday, May 30, 2008

Testimonial from Leah Kim

The news of the severe budget cuts was devastating to me. Though I am enrolled in the college of Letters & Science, the restrictions to be imposed upon enrollment for fall semester of 2008 seem unfair to me. I might have recently declared my Korean minor, but it was only during my Korean language courses that prompted me to educate myself about my ethnic culture.

It may seem odd for an English major to also pursue a minor in Korean, but I find it an indispensable part of my studies. As an aspiring writer, I am greatly interested in the power of words beyond their every day definition. Words can evoke a powerful emotion in the reader and just changing one or two words can completely change the mood of a paragraph.

So why Korean? I have accepted that as a Korean-American, I cannot completely deny that there are Korean influences in my life that will spill over into my writing. However, there are many things about my Korean identity that cannot be translated into English. There is no word that can truly convey the pain and anger behind the word "Han" or the subtle etiquette and soul reading behind "Noon-chim." How can I truly write from my soul when a part of it is lacking the right emotion filled word?

For me, Korean is not just another set of words, interchangeable variables with its English counterparts as if their values are equal. It is the second half of my own personal language, so integrated within me that, without it, I am nothing more than just a half a person with fragmented speech, glaring holes in where Korean should have been there to fill.
-- Leah J. Kim, English major, Korean minor (leah_kim AT

East Bay Express cover article

If you haven't picked up a copy of the East Bay Express (free, from newspaper stands all around Berkeley and Oakland) yet this week, be sure to check out this front-page article about the effect of the budget cuts on East Asian languages at Berkeley: "Proposed Budget to Gut East Asian Languages at Cal".

Community outreach tomorrow--please join

Sent to the Berkeley 'savekoreanstudies' listserv...anyone interested in helping and participating is welcome to join the meeting tomorrow at noon or contact us--THANK YOU!
Hi all,

Hope you're all doing well in this first week of summer. This week, student volunteers still here in Berkeley are trying to keep momentum from recent weeks going with local outreach and fundraising work. Today several students are contacting Oakland & Berkeley businesses to see where we might visit tomorrow to talk about the budget crisis, how it impacts the local community, and how local businesses might get involved & help with fund-raising.

Tomorrow, a group will meet at 12 noon at Cyber Cafe, located in Koryo Plaza, 4390 Telegraph Avenue at 44th St.
Bus #1 runs down Telegraph from downtown Berkeley (Berkeley BART) and there's a stop on Telegraph at Dwight too.

This will probably be covered in the media. The more concerned students and community members we have, the better, so please do come out if you can and pass the word along to those who aren't on this list.

If you have any questions please write or call Christine (, 510-658-3310), or me (, 510-717-2367).