Sarka Hrbkova's appeal to save the program

Letter from Sarka B. Hrbkova to Chancellor Avery Concerning Termination of Czech Language Program

Šárka Hrbková responding to the termination of the Slavic Department and her position at the University in a letter to Chancellor Avery on May 17, 1919.

Faulting Chancellor Avery and the Board of Regents for:

Citing registration and enrolment figures skewed by wartime conditions as evidence of low enrolment in the Slavic Department.

Not allowing Slavic Department classes to fulfill the military program’s academic language requirements despite approval of from Dr. Chatburn from Minneapolis Regional Director of the S. A. T. C.

Not allowing students to choose Slavic Languages for their modern language requirement and pushing German instead. This was a volatile issue in an era of anti-German attitudes.

Insisting she resign from as chairman of the Women’s Committee of the Council of National Defense. Citing involvement of the Nebraska State Council of Defense in the loyalty trials of 1918 where members of the University were charged with disloyally to the nation.

Abolishing the department and her position as a punishment for her involvement in the loyalty trials.

For not taking into account:

The importance of Slavic studies after the war which created a free Czechoslovakia Republic.

Her own war work keeping her away at registration.

Slavic Department students enlisting in the military and impacting the department’s registration figures

The 1918 influenza epidemic killing off students.

The removal of the department from a convenient location to an obscure part of campus.

The protection she provided Avery in the wake of the loyalty trials and her own contributions to the war effort on the home front.

Click on image to access the text of the letter.