26 March 2009

Yet Another CSUSM Complaint

I have a lot to complain about with CSUSM. My experience on campus has been anything but enlightening. For the most part, its been just a chore to get my Bachelor's Degree, having to work around catch-22s, pay outrageous fees for services that I don't use (or, in the case of parking, outrageous fees for very little return-on-investment), and deal with the fact that nearly everything I've learned has been superseeded by things that I've learned on my own outside of school. However, there is one thing that I'm facing that I wished they were more clear on while completing the requirements to graduate: the "Language Other Than English" graduation requirement (which they call the LOTER).
I have beef with this for a number of reasons, specifically that throughout my time here, whenever I visited my academic counselor, I was never told that I did not complete the requirement. My second issue is the inherent unfairness that it creates. What I mean is this: suppose you are an English-only-speaking student attending the university. In order for you to graduate, you must complete 2 years of a foreign language (which, obviously, is not English) not only to graduate, but also for General Education credits toward your degree. Now, suppose, a classmate of yours is very fluent in Spanish (Spanish-speaking family at home, for instance) and also in English (since they grew up in the United States). They, too, are required to take a class on a foreign language, but since the college only requires languages other than English to count as a "foreign language," this classmate of yours can actually take Spanish and basically get virtually free credits! Same goes for students who natively speak German, Italian, French, Japanese, Chinese, or whatever. In effect, this requirement actually punishes English-only speakers and favors existing bilingual students (which at CSUSM, a good percentage of them are native Spanish-speaking citizens), and I feel this system is very unfair.
Though I've grown up in a predominately Spanish-speaking family, I am practically a English-only speaker, and know very little Spanish, but I still find it unfair to those who have a purely English-speaking background. I will make my case against the school, but will probably do so when I have a little more time to build a stronger case against them for what can be interpretted as discrimination. ACLU, can you hear me?

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