Saturday, May 16, 2009

College Diplomas: Latin or English?

New York Times published an op-ed piece today by Christopher Francese, a professor of Classics at Dickinson College. Frencese argues that we should stop handing out college diplomas written in Latin and switch to English. From what I could understand from this article, the only reason for this suggestion is that some employers might find the language of our diplomas to be "foreign and illegible."

I disagree entirely with this suggestion. The standards of college education are slipping with every passing day. At the very prestigious Ivy League school I've been teaching, I had a student who wrote "poor" instead of "pour", confused the plural with the possessive, and saw no difference beetween "their", "they're", and "there." And all this, only a year before graduation.

In my opinion, there should be some minimal level of knowledge that everybody with a college degree should share. So, if figuring out what your own diploma says is too tough for you, then maybe you don't deserve that degree.

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