Macquarie University is set to terminate four languages, among which is Modern Greek, in what is a critical blow to its study at tertiary level.

The President of the Macquarie Greek Studies Foundation, Theo Premetis, announced in an official statement the change from the university as they plan to discontinue Modern Greek, Italian, Croatian and Russian.

“We were informed of the decision in a meeting last Thursday (30 May),” Premetis told Neos Kosmos.

The foundation’s president confirmed the change means they will no longer offer Modern Greek as a Major or Diploma to students starting from next year, with current students enrolled in Modern Greek able to complete their studies without disruption until the end of 2026.

The decision comes in anticipation of creating a new academic unit combining the four discipline areas of Criminology, Politics and International Relations, Security Studies, and Global Cultures, with the language programs to be in ‘resting and teach out’.

Premetis expressed that the foundation and its various community partners, including the Greek Orthodox Community of NSW, offered to fully cover the costs of the program, but that the University had made its decision.

“We offered to pay for everything through the funds in our account. Their argument was that we do not have enough students enrolled at third-year level to justify keeping it as a Major,” he said.

The foundation’s president said they will prepare another submission to Macquarie reaffirming their suggestion to cover all the costs and ensure some language units continue to be offered within the new Global Cultures discipline.

“Without the language you cannot really teach anything. We will suggest that we will pay for it ourselves even if it is just at the beginner’s level. We will finance it, similar to the current arrangement at the University of New South Wales,” Premetis said.

The university has indicated that it may incorporate Greek language and culture-related units of study within the new discipline of Global Cultures, with the final content and curriculum design for it expected by late 2025.

“We do not know where the curriculum is going to end up,” Premetis said.

“They might continue some Greek subjects but I am talking about the language. They want to keep other areas such as research, history, culture, and Ancient Greek. Maybe we have to do it that way, but that is why it is not finalised on all levels yet.”

He admitted, however, that he believes “it is never going to survive without the language”.

Premetis expressed the foundation will explore all options moving forward for how it can support Modern Greek at Macquarie and, more broadly, its study at tertiary level, while showing appreciation for the consistent help of the community.