But what strikes you is the opening passage of the article:
If a language class about an obscure African dialect spoken by a dwindling number of people worldwide attracts only a handful of students at UW-Madison, should the university continue to offer it?Do we offer any "African dialects", let alone ones spoken by dwindling numbers of people? Our Department of African Languages & Literatures offers Swahili, Arabic, Hausa, Yoruba, and Xhosa. Hardly obscure or endangered languages. There are plenty of topics courses that cover some unnamed language of a region, etc., but those aren't regular course offerings in the relevant sense. Ancient Egyptian is offered, but its numbers long ago stopped dwindling.
The WSJ is hardly a great paper, and the fact that the opening is never explained (or even followed up on in a significant way) maybe isn't shocking, but I'm wondering what the heck this is about.