A decision to drop modern Greek at the MML Fac has been met with a 16,000-strong online petition.

Cambridge University greek tragedy mml modern greek modern languages petition simon franklin tom balderstone

From October 2013, Cambridge will no longer be offering its full degree course in Modern Greek language.

At the end of September, Professor David Holton, the current Lewis-Gibson lecturer for modern Greek, will retire, with no replacement to take on his role. The MML Faculty will no longer accept entries to its full Tripos, but will continue to teach current students until their graduation.

The decision to drop the course has been met with notable backlash, including an online petition that has attracted more than 16,000 signatures in the four months since the decision was first made public.

Vast number of supporters for a subject being dropped due to “lack of demand”

The petition, led by Semele Assinder, a current PHD candidate from the Modern Greek section, claims that the decision has been made “on financial grounds”.

Subsequently, she has called for Professor Simon Franklin, Head of the School of Arts and Humanities, to reverse the decision. When approached for a response, however, Prof. Franklin told The Tab:

“This university is not taking a saving. This decision was not made for financial reasons.”

Professor Simon Franklin – the man 16,000 want to speak to

Prof. Franklin, who has not been formally presented with the petition, claims that the decision to drop the full degree course was based entirely on demand.

The University of Cambridge is one of only three universities still offering this course in the UK and demand for it has been low; according to Prof. Franklin, as low as “1 or 2 students on average” per year.

Whilst a specialised degree in modern Greek will no longer be possible, the university will continue to teach modern Greek language as part of other courses.

“We have no prejudice against modern Greek,” said Franklin, who claims that the faculty will continue to support a range of modern languages. “We are global in reach,” he added proudly. “We are the first European university to offer a degree in Ukranian.”

If you feel passionate about keeping modern Greek at the University, you can sign the petition here.

Admittedly for a different Greek cause, but displaying a similar level of passion