I would like to reply to Professor Bell-Villada’s condescending letter that was published in the Jan. 25 issue of The Williams Record.
I was quite thrown back by the professor’s personal attack at me. In the op-ed article “Williams needs Latino Studies program,” I was using Jorge Luis Borges and Isabel Allende as reference points for the Williams community to connect with.
I was highly offended by the tone taken by the professor towards me. I, in no way, offended the professor or the Romance Languages department. I still do not understand why professor Bell-Villada would take such a hostile approach towards an op-ed calling for an expansion of Latin studies. I would think that having a US Latino Studies Program at Williams College would profit the Romance Languages Department. There is an obvious connection between US-born Latinos and their former compatriots south of the Rio Grande. If a student is interested in studying Latinos or Latin Americans, I do not think it would be too much of a stretch to say that the student would take a course in both disciplines.
Does professor Bell-Villada believe that US Latino Studies are not a bona fide academic discipline? I realize that I am just a college student, but I cannot come to any other conclusion. For the professor to attack me personally, in such a manner, over such a trite point in the article, is beyond my comprehension.
Before writing “Williams needs Latino Studies Program,” I did some research in the Williams College Bulletin. Two of the three courses professor Bell-Villada was “happy to inform” me to take are conducted in Spanish. The other course is not even taught during the present academic year. Does the professor forget that not everyone at Williams can read or write in Spanish?
It appears that professor Bell-Villada is trying to deflect the present discussion from the urgent need of Williams College to invest in a US Latino Studies Program to bickering over peripheral issues. What I fear most from professor Bell-Villada’s reaction is that other professors and administrators are also hostile to the idea of US Latino Studies at Williams. It is my wish that Williams College, with the hope of a new administration coming to the helm next annum, will show that Latino Studies will no longer be alien in the Purple Valley.
Sergio Espinosa ’02