As you may have heard from media recently, the Dean and the Strategic Planning Committee at the University of Toronto is planning on the dissolution of 6 of its departments in the School of Humanities, partially to be replaced by a single “School of Languages and Literature (SL&L)”. For over 70 years, University of Toronto has been the leading institution in Eastern Canada and North America, acting as the leading institution to integrating studies of philosophy, literature, history, and political science of East Asia with a language acquisition core. Precisely because of this holistic curriculum, it has attracted students from Asia, Europe, South America, and even students in the US to decline their sponsorships to come study here.
Furthermore, the 2 specialized East Asian libraries on campus (Cheng Yu Tong and R.C. Lee HK collection) would not go unscathed from the proposed dissolution. These two libraries are the largest Asian collections in Canada, and contribute much further than just to the people at the university itself (as it is open to public access). Toronto Guqin Society would not have been established, let alone come this far if it was not for the resources, networking, and support of the East Asian Studies department and Cheng Yu Tong East Asian Library.
As a student who studied under this system, it is impossible to think that the study of East Asia could be any less integrated – why would I go to a school where I have to run to 7 departments in order to receive an “East Asian” education, and to have nothing more than a “Liberal Arts” degree which does not recognize my focus? Without a doubt, this is a significant step backwards, all because of administrative budget cuts.
To this end, there are several methods to voicing your concern:
The most basic course of action is to sign this official petition at http://www.PetitionOnline.com/saveeas/.
You can also keep track of news and updates to the issue from the FB group “Save EAS @ UofT” http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=140492929295640.
And finally, you can also write a letter of protest directly towards the Dean, with particular focus that the department has significant effect outside of campus.
100 St. George Street, Room 2005
Toronto, ON M5S 3G3
I implore everyone to voice out our concern for the continued existence of this excellent department, and for the recognition of Toronto (as well as the university) as a diverse society that requires a specialized place of recognition and excellence. Go and sign the petition today!