Suffice to say that I, like many other St Andreans, am completely and utterly disgusted by this ignorant decision to dismember the modern languages department at St. Andrews University in one fell swoop. It is an outrage that we, who have earned a right to attend this academic institution, will no longer be receiving the fullest and indeed richest education in our modern languages degrees. I believe that the whole dubious affair really boils down to this: our university does not love languages.
In an email Louise Richardson stated that the decision was partly due to the fact that the Italian and Russian departments did not perform well in the recent Research Assessment Exercise. Again the university does not realise that the SLTs are in no way involved with the RAE, that they are only involved with designing the language programs. She said “their contribution throughout the year is not considered equivalent to other full time staff with similar costs” . I would like to highlight the fact that whilst we do do these degrees for our own literary awakening, the underlying reason is to achieve fluency in the languages themselves. There would be no point in getting a French degree and knowing everything there is to know about, say, Alexandre Dumas, but not being fluent in the written and spoken aspects of the language.
On a positive note one of the SLTs told me that our continuing affection and support are what keep her going. Perhaps this letter has started to become a little rambling, however I will end it on this: the new storage facility for the library is completely redundant. I am sure that there are not books and encyclopedias left lying all over the the streets of St. Andrews being pillaged by swarms of imaginary vagabonds and thieves. Back to the point, if the decision to create this facility had never been devised, directing funding elsewhere, could this situation with the SLTs have been prevented?