Retrenchment is still being felt by the SOU community, some classes continue to be scaled down such as those which created French as a major and minor. Diners dished concerns between bites of French cuisine making the annual Club Dinner all the more poignant.
The 19th annual dinner, opened to a 5 course meal consisting of French national delicacies and a healthy selection of both local and national wine. The dinner in The Rogue River Room of the Stevenson Union last Friday was put on by French Club President Amy Layton, in coordination with her Vice President Keefer Dunn as well as Madame Marianne Golding. Fundraising for the event primarily happened through bake sales and private donations.
The evening while bittersweet was full of laughter as participants enjoyed the meals that ranged from Quiche Lorraine to a Chocolate Mousse. There was an undertone of concern however due to the very recent cuts to the French program at SOU. As it stands now French will remain just a 2 year Bachelor of Arts language requirement, “I fear that losing these programs, such as French, will mean that we will no longer do big events such as the French Dinner, and less opportunities for French students and others to come together to watch French films,” said Layton. While the French Club has every intention of carrying on its dinner to its 20th anniversary and beyond, the cultural impact of losing these programs is a concern according to Layton.
“There will be less opportunities for us to bond, to learn and create with a second language, and less of a chance to learn about such rich and diverse francophone cultures.” While SOU does still offer courses in French, German, Japanese and American sign language, currently the only foreign language course major offered is Spanish.
“Though the major and minor are small, the class sizes have brought all of us together: these friendships wouldn’t have happened without the program,” said Layton referring to the loss of the French program in its current form. Since the final retrenchment plan went into effect March of last year, SOU has lost six majors and continues to lose multiple minors. The landscape of the school is changing, while the loss of these programs may be saving the university much needed income, French Club participants worry if there will be a cost to both the university’s image and its culture.