Photo by Rosario Serna.
Photo by Rosario Serna.

John Mock envisioned UC Santa Cruz as a university where the study of South Asian languages, culture and history would thrive, but the ever-steepening cuts the campus is facing have buried those plans. With Arabic already eliminated, UCSC’s languages are taking another hit — next year, the university will no longer offer instruction in Hindi, a national language of India, or Urdu, a national language of Pakistan.

Mock is the only lecturer teaching Hindi and Urdu at UCSC. He is also a member of several national language organizations, and serves as the school’s institutional trustee on the American Institute of Indian Studies. In addition, he was nationally elected to the Executive Committee of the American Institute of Afghanistan Studies and the Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies. Mock explained that these programs offer scholarships and other resources to language students.

“On the one hand I am being told, ‘Thank you, you bring honor to this campus,’ but then this,” he said.

Mock, who has taught Hindi and Urdu at UCSC for nine years, is uncertain of what he will do next.

“I will have to look for a job,” he said. “I have no idea what I will be doing — what am I going to do for health insurance?”

Hindi instruction began in 2001 as a six-course series, or two-year program. Urdu was offered one quarter a year. Most language graduate programs, certain education abroad programs, and even some undergraduate majors at UCSC require two years of study in a foreign language.

“Students who have been studying Hindi and wanted to use it as their language requirement are out of luck,” Mock said. “They will need to start over with another language.”

This is not the first time Hindi has faced cuts. In 2005, cuts that would have eliminated the second year of instruction in Hindi were countered by private donations. An agreement between 15 donors and UCSC stipulated that the donors would contribute $1,000 a year until 2010, when the university was to find a way to continue offering Hindi.

“The donors can’t do everything on their own,” Mock said. “It is up to the campus to provide the planning, vision and leadership.”

But hard economic times have prevented the university from developing the funds needed to continue the program.

“The money is ruling everything,” Mock said. “Things like languages, which would normally be considered assets, instead are being considered liabilities.”