PH studies program faces closure at SF college

By Rommel Conclara, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

June 25, 2014

SAN FRANCISCO – Students and faculty members of the City College of San Francisco can now breathe a little sigh of relief.

California Governor Jerry Brown signed and approved the State budget that includes stabilization funds for the embattled community college.

Stabilization funds will keep City College open and accredited while it works on fixing the problems that nearly closed it down.

Despite the good news, Jeanne Batallones, Department Chair of the Philippine Studies program at City College says the Philippine Studies Department is still in serious risk of being eliminated.

“We are in a dire situation. Despite the considerations the state is making for the college and the drop of enrollment, our department is still at risk,” said Batallones.

Due to initial reports that the City College would be closed, enrollment for Tagalog classes has dropped each semester.

Filipino classes have been cut one after another because of this.

She fears her dean will end up eliminating the program altogether if students don’t fill up the classes.

“What we need is a commitment from the college to also acknowledge that the drop in enrollment in Filipinos and Philippine studies is not because there isn’t an interest in our community,” said Batallones. “It is because of the misperception and misinformation that the community has of City College that has swayed people from coming here.”

Students in the Philippine Studies Department are aware of the problem and also share the fear that they will no longer have Filipino classes.

Faye Dennis, 29, is not even Filipino but she has taken much interest in learning more about Filipino history and culture.

“It would be such a shame if the whole department got cut too because it’s really interesting and really fun,” said Dennis.

Filipinos like 24-year-old Dennis Sadie learned about his heritage for the first time through these courses.

“I hope that doesn’t happen because it would be devastating for other Filipinos like myself that don’t really know anything about the history of the Philippines or the people who came here,” said Sadie.

Batallones says they will continue to recruit students to keep the Philippine Studies Department alive.

“We need to fill up these classes so we can show a strong message to the college that our community supports the study of Philippine studies and that it is a viable department that needs to be preserved,” said Batallones.

You can contact Rommel Conclara at rommel_conclara@abs-cbn.com for more information.

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