The Oct. 27 article “Language arts dying out at USM” highlights how the continued dismantling of the University of Southern Maine would likely affect foreign language offerings.

It appears that the already austere languages department, now with less than a handful of full-time Ph.D. faculty teaching French, Spanish and classics, would cease to exist with the proposed cuts. The plan is to rely on part-time instructors to teach lower-level classes, which would deprive students linguistically, culturally and, in the long term, economically.

USM cannot call itself a “metropolitan university” while gutting its already weak language offerings. We live in a globalized, interconnected society (look at how diverse Portland is!) where being fluent in a second language is a valuable asset.

Students majoring in nursing, business and education could pragmatically complement their studies with a second major in a language. Unfortunately, that would not be an option if these draconian cuts are implemented.

Instead, USM should be adding majors in Arabic and Chinese, two strategically important languages. As someone with an undergraduate degree in Spanish, I know firsthand how a second language can create many opportunities, both personally and professionally. It’s satisfying to know that I’m easily able to communicate with a group of people who otherwise would be inaccessible due to language barriers.

I urge the administration of USM to invest its limited resources into building a quality language program that would form graduates who are engaged global citizens.

Charlie Remy

former Gorham resident

Chattanooga, Tennessee