LINGUIST List 2.699

Wed 23 Oct 1991

FYI: The Closing of Linguistics at Minnesota

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  1. , Re: Closing Lx at Minnesota

Message 1: Re: Closing Lx at Minnesota

Date: Wed, 23 Oct 91 17:03 CDT
From: <>
Subject: Re: Closing Lx at Minnesota
This is a brief update on the closing of the Linguistics Department
at Minnesota:
	Thank you to everyone who has written letters of support from
the outside for us. Not only has Dean Julia Davis received them, but
we have also distributed them to the three CLA committees who will
be voting on the dean's proposal. As of today, 10/23/91, our
situation is very bad here, and it seems extremely likely that a
coherent linguistics curriculum will be abolished and the faculty
will be scattered to other departments.
	We are working hard to prevent that, but have been hampered
by 1) a lack of time to solidify alternatives, such as a merger with
some other unit or alternative ways to save money and still keep the
linguistics currculum and degrees, 2) disinformation or lack of
information about the department which is being used as a basis for
the decision, 3) hard ball politics from uninformed people who speak
against us in public meetings, 4) the administrative politics of
playing linguistics against other departments in the scramble for
limited resources, 5) being chosen the scapegoat in a game of
terrorism in which the message to other faculty is "it could be you".
It is very hard for anyone to move in a careful, intelligent, and
deliberative way in making such an important decision in this
atmosphere and events indicate that enough people in the College
don't want to be careful and that they may win. Having had this
proposal thrown in our laps on October 9th, the College asked for the
"consultative" process to end on October 22nd. That has now been
extended one week, when the Assembly will reconvene to vote (on
Tuesday 10/29). The sense here is that it most likely will be a
rubber stamping process.
	A number of us in the department are concerned that there has
been a violation of due process here, that academic precedent will
be set in abolishing an entire discipline at a university, and that this
will have been accomplished swiftly, easily, and on the initiative of
administrators. Which discipline might be next, or which linguistics
department? This is stuff for the AAUP as well as the Chronicle
of Higher Education, if there were time for us to pursue it, which
there is precious little of.
	Letters are still welcomed (please send the Linguistics
department a copy for our files), as well as any other initiatives and
actions that could prevent the abandonment of linguistics at
	The addresses are:
Dean Julia Davis
College of Liberal Arts, U of MN
215 Johnston Hall
Minneapolis, MN 55455
fax no. is 612-624-6549, label it for "Dean Julia Davis"
Dept. of Linguistics
24 hour fax no. is 612-625-2312, label it for "Dept. of Linguistics"
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