March 24, 2016

LETTER TO THE EDITOR | In Response to the Language House Controversy

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Re: “Cornell Language House Residents Call for Reinstatement of Director Position,” News, March 23

To the Editor:

I am Gregory Chu, a senior currently living in the Cornell University Language House. Having been a resident for almost three years, I am quite familiar with the Language House before and after significant changes were made.

But before I address the conflict as described in a recent article, I would like to highlight the aspects of the Language House that The Daily Sun neglects to mention.

The Language House offers residents a near immersion experience in their target language. Residents of a specific language section are required to only use their target language when speaking to other members of that section. This gives residents experience in the practical and social use of a language, which is often neglected in traditional classroom settings. As such, living in the Language House is a must for students studying a foreign language and those planning on spending a semester abroad.

In addition, the Language House offers residents the opportunity to interact and socialize with a highly diverse group of people including undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, and various guests. While living in the Language House, I have met some of the most intelligent, passionate and unforgettable people here at Cornell. Without a doubt, I am proud to have lived in the Language House, and highly encourage more Cornellians to do so.

That being said, many other Language House residents and I believe we can improve the Language House experience. I had hoped the petition would lead to a productive discussion on how residents and the administration could achieve this mutual goal. Clearly this has not yet happened.

The language house is an excellent program with so much to offer. The problems facing the language house are by no means insurmountable, but require that the residents, native speakers, house fellows and the administration work together rather than against each other. Despite the drama currently playing out in the media, I remain confident that these issues will be resolved timely, and that the Language House will become stronger as a result of this honest dispute.

Gregory Chu ’16

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