Jay Bregman: Ending Latin major at UMaine strange ‘distinction’

Source: Press Herald, 3-7-11

With course enrollment growing, it makes no sense for a public university to deny students what they want.

“How can you have a good university without Latin and Greek?” asked then-President Arthur Johnson of the University of Maine in 1984.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jay Bregman is a professor of history at the University of Maine, as well as coordinator of the religious studies minor and a member of the board of directors of the International Society for Neoplatonic Studies.

He then initiated a replacement of the retiring Latin professor in our Department of Foreign Languages and Classics.

When he came to Maine as provost, Robert Kennedy tried to end the Latin major.

The faculty stopped him then with some outside help from Phi Beta Kappa. Now, years later, even as a “lame duck” president, he is insisting the major be ended, without even allowing for a period of discussion and re-evaluation.

He has completely ignored appeals by the Classical Association of New England, as well as some of the world’s most distinguished scholars, both in personal letters and included on an international petition to save the Classics at UMaine, with 674 signatures and pointed comments, including those from Dale Sinos of Howard University and Amherst College and John Dillon of Trinity College, Dublin, who have visited UMaine several times, Peter Green and Donald Kagan of Yale, to name only a few.

Dillon and the others characterized the move as “a sad descent into barbarism.” One administrator suggested that no university would respond to a “group of outsiders” on policy decisions. Is UMaine then a hermetically sealed operation, for which there is no outside funding, evaluation, ratings of professors and determination of the quality of programs?…READ MORE

 

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