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Posts Tagged ‘Financial and Economic Crises’

“An Open Letter From a UCSD Faculty Member to UCSD’s New Chancellor.”

In California, Privatization on May 25, 2012 at 3:36 pm

Dear Chancellor Koshla:

 

I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Literature as well as an affiliated faculty of Ethnic Studies and the Critical Gender Studies Program. I am also the Vice President of the San Diego Faculty Association, a local chapter of the American Association of American Universities (AAUP). As you may know, this organization has fought hard for academic freedom and faculty rights across the nation. I am one of the faculty members who joined the Black Student Union, Mecha and other student organizations to protest the racist, homophobic, sexist, and classist incidents that occurred on our campus in 2010. Finally, I am a supporter of labor groups on campus, especially AFSME. While you look forward to a six digit salary and many other perks, our brothers and sisters from AFSME are being asked to work more hours for the same or less money while putting their health at severe risk,

 

I‘m not telling you all of this to legitimize myself or to speak for any of these groups. I am letting you know who I am and who I have been in contact with for the past seven years – years in which I have listened and heard many concerns. I am writing this letter to express one concern that is shared by many: Like many students, faculty, and workers, I never had the opportunity to ask you questions in an open, unscripted forum when you were a candidate (hint: organize such a forum. It is never too late). I read with curiosity and attention your interview in The Guardian, (http://www.ucsdguardian.org/component/k2/item/25732-interview-with-chancellor-designate-khosla) and I have some doubts, questions and comments about your responses.

 

In response to a question about the future direction of the university, you said that UCSD “has achieved a lot in the last 50 years. And it has achieved that partly because of the entrepreneurial nature of the faculty, partly because of strong leadership and partly because of both.” My Translation: you are mostly concerned about the profit making centers of the University, mainly the hospitals and research centers that are connected to federal grants and corporate interests. Many of us are not surprised that you see the university as a corporation and yourself as a CEO. We know that you managed a $50 million portfolio for DARPA (a military agency) and that you served as a consultant for several companies and venture capitalists. However, we are also (still?) part of this public university, and we ask you: Do those of us who are not entrepreneurs or revenue generators have a place at UCSD? Do those who work in academic fields that promote the public good over profit-motives have a future (and a past) at UCSD?

The typical response to this concern is that UCSD development teams are working on raising funds for the Humanities and those fields that cannot support themselves. It is always so interesting how administrators label the things they like to expend money on (i.e. buildings, chancellor’s salaries) as “investments,” while the things they don’t like to expend money on (i.e. student services, humanities departments) are labeled as “costs.” The problem, however, is that even accepting your philanthropic logic, there are entire fields of knowledge and disciplines that “do not get donors excited.” Are we condemned, then, to sacrifice entire fields of knowledge on the altar of corporate interests? Is that going to promote the public interest and world quality education in the state of California?

 

When you were asked about the possibility of increasing students fees 6% in the fall, you said you wished there was a magic bullet to avoid tuition increases. You added that without this magic bullet the way to fix the lack of funds “is over time, to raise more money for student scholarships, for undergraduate scholarships. But that is a process that can take one, two, three decades, to get to a point where everybody can go to school for free, it’s nearly impossible.” My Translation: You will support any tuition increases in the near future regardless of the effect that it may have on the students and their families. You appear to be a supporter of the so-called “Michigan Model” of high tuition with high aid – that is to say, passing the “cost” of education to the “student/consumer.” Your words appear to be a euphemistic way around the indenture of our students.

 

Do you know that this model generates astronomical student debt and that it disproportionally affects working class students and students of color? In this regard, Bob Meister, a Professor of UC Santa Cruz, writes that, “the price of public higher education has been growing at twice the rate of the economy, twice as fast as health insurance, and three to four times more quickly than consumer prices in general. University leaders were, of course, both observers of this bubble and participants in it” [1]. Are you going to participate on the expansion and consolidation of the student debt bubble or will you make a firm commitment to consider other options? It is simply not true that you have no option but to raise tuition. There are many proposals like UCSF Professor Stan Glantz. According to Glantz it would cost the median California tax payer between $45 and $51 to roll back UC tuition to the levels of the year 2000 [2].

 

Finally, you were asked about the future of diversity initiatives on campus and you responded: “clearly I have a goal of increasing enrollment, but I have to work with my senior staff, the faculty and students, because I’m sure there are many good ideas floating around that I am unaware of”. My Translation: Like Chancellor Fox and the UCSD administration, you think that racism and lack of diversity at UCSD have been resolved, so you are plan on taking a dangerously passive approach that has been the modus operandi of administrators. The problem is that there are signs of continued deterioration, because the problem is structural. The so-called “Compton Cookout” emerged from a long history of structural inequality at UCSD. Because of the brave actions of students, especially the groups previously mentioned, the administration had to face some of these problems. Yet, they addressed the issue only superficially, never getting at the roots or systemic problems. They put a band-aid on things, and then used the students’ struggles in their slick marketing campaigns to promote “campus diversity.” Contrary to that fantasy of campus, UCSD continues to be a toxic space for historically underrepresented minorities on campus, especially Muslim and Arab American students. I don’t have a quantitative study to substantiate this claim, but I have eyes, ears, and a heart. At the very least, Chancellor Koshla, you should commit the funding for the BSU resource center out of UCSD money. Do not wait for private donations. Your support for this effort would be a step in the right direction and a sign of good faith.

 

I realize that many members of the community may think it is too soon to raise these criticisms. Unfortunately, after seven years at this institution I have learned to expect nothing but empty words from the administration. Perhaps you can prove me wrong. Perhaps you can show me and the UCSD community that there was a deeper substance behind your words in the recent interview. Then, I would be the first to admit that I was “lost in translation.” Prove me wrong, and I’d be happy to sit down there with you and the people. We could talk, listen, and imagine new ways of opening the doors of the university to everybody in the state of California, regardless of class, race, gender, or ethnicity and honor the heritage of the California Master Plan. If this sounds too much like fiction to you, then I guess I will see you at the next protest in the Chancellor Office Complex, or at the next building reclamation, or wherever there are good people opposing the full privatization of the UC system.

 

Luis Martín-Cabrera

 

[1] Debt and Taxes: Can the Financial Industry Save Public Universities? Privatization Is Now the Problem—Not the Solution

 

 

[2] See complete proposal http://keepcaliforniaspromise.org/2066/restore2011-12

 

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May Day 2012

In California, Privatization on May 1, 2012 at 12:30 am

FROM THE OCCUPY SAN DIEGO FACEBOOK EVENT FOR MAY DAY 2012:

No work. No school. No Banking. No Shopping. A day without the 99% is a day people all over the world can stand up to the powers that be and say “Enough is enough!” Join us! (If you can’t, at least take the day off or change your profile picture!)

On May 1st, 2012 every continent, every country, every state, every city will stand up!

11am CITY COLLEGE RALLY
12pm SOLIDARITY MARCH – CIVIC CENTER
3:30pm EDUCATION CUTS RALLY – ROOSEVELT MIDDLE SCHOOL
4pm-6pm WORKER RALLY – CIVIC CENTER
5:30pm CHICANO PARK FESTIVAL

Participating Organizations:

SEIU USWW | UFCW LOCAL 135| UNITEHERE LOCAL 30 | UNION DEL BARRIO | SD LABOR COUNCIL | UNITED TAXI WORKERS | AFT | OCCUPY LABOR SOLIDARITY | ACCE | ICWJ | ANAKBAYAN SD | CENTER OF POLICY INITIATIVES | DOMESTIC WORKER CAMPAIGN | CANVASS FOR A CAUSE | AFSC SD | EMPLOYEE RIGHTS CENTER | LA INVASORA 99.7FM | EQUALITY ALLIANCE SD | UPTE-CWA 9119 | S.A.M.E. | OSD | PARTY FOR SOCIALISM & LIBERATION | ANIMAL PROTECTION & RESCUE LEAGUE | INTERNATIONAL SOCIALIST ORGANIZATION | IWW | OCUPEMOS EL BARRIO | AMALGAMATED TRANSIT UNION LOCAL 1309 | OCCUPYRCORNER | STUDENTS FROM SDSU, USD, CITY COLLEGE, UCSD & MORE!

MAY DAY 2012: A day without the 99%.

May day is about the debt imposed on you for daring to dream about a college education.

It’s about the healthcare you can’t afford, the family member with a disease which goes untreated because they lack insurance.

It’s about your car that got repo-ed after you lost your job.

It’s about your home that got foreclosed on by the bank.

It’s about your family, who came here for a better future, and got lost in the broken immigration system, and found that they’re denied access to legal work, education and security because they’re undocumented.

It’s about you, the gay kid who gets bullied at school, and will grow up in a country which denies you equality and humanity, simply because you love someone of the same gender.

It’s about the fact there’s no jobs, even if you got that college education and those grades.

It’s about the single mother who struggles to support her kids on minimum wage – which is not a living wage.

It’s about the woman who makes it through Harvard, works her butt off in one of the best law firms in the country, and constantly loses out on that promotion because she’s not a man.

It’s about the homeless African-American man who lives on the street and gets thrown in jail for peeing in a park, because there are no toilet facilities on the street for those like him.

It’s about the protestor who gets beaten and thrown in jail for holding a sign in a public space which says he want equality.

It’s about the farmer who’s had to leave his home and work, because the state raised his land tax.

It’s about the father who loses a son to a pointless war over oil in a foreign land.

It’s about the fact this is not the America we were brought up to believe in.

IT’S TIME TO TAKE TO THE STREETS!

This event has been organized by workers, union and non union to tell the 1% NO MORE! We will be marching from Civic Center to demonstrate in front of the banks that have taken our homes, the state building for taking our medical care, the ICE building that has deported and destroyed families and all other places that have waged a war on working people!!

More info visit: www.occupylaborsolidarity.org or http://www.occupymay1st.org/Seemore

Seventh Demand: Islamic Studies Minor

In California on March 19, 2012 at 8:00 am

This is the text of the seventh demand that has been added to the list of demands put forward by the Public Education Coalition and referred to in our response to Chancellor Fox’s email.

ADDENDUM: ACTION FOR EDUCATIONAL JUSTICE

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SAN DIEGO

MARCH 8, 2012

To Whom It May Concern:

A seventh demand has been added to the list of institutional demands submitted on March 1, 2012 by a coalition of students, faculty, and workers specified in the March 1 document. As always please respond to our liaison (in the original document) before the end of the quarter.

Sincerely,

A coalition of students, workers, and faculty at UCSD

II. UCSD INSTITUTIONAL DEMANDS:

DEMAND 7: AUTHORIZE TO ADD AN ISLAMIC STUDIES MINOR

After the events of September 11, 2001, Muslims in the nation, especially students on academic campuses, have encountered a litany of Islamophobic activities demonstrated by a wide array of hate crimes ranging from verbal attacks to physical sabotage. Islamophobic actions that Muslim students have encountered on UC San Diego campus include, but are not limited to, professors’ bias towards Muslims, written and spoken anti-Muslim rhetoric by campus personnel, UC San Diego students, as well as campus visitors, sabotaged advertising materials for Islam Awareness Week in addition to several other incidents. In 2010, intoxicated students at UC San Diego Sun God Festival assaulted a female Muslim student; pulling off her headscarf while shouting anti-Muslim pejoratives and racial slurs. Moreover, on Thursday April 4, 2011 twenty-eight UC San Diego faculty endorsed “An Open Letter to Our University Community About Troubling Hypocrisy On Our Campus” in an advertisement paid by off-campus Israel advocate organization Scholars for Peace in the Middle East in The Guardian campus newspaper. The letter falsely accused the Muslim Student Association, Arab Student Union, and Students for Justice in Palestine of anti-Jewish activities. In addition, UC San Diego Administration denied security escort to a Muslim student to University Public Relations Office despite unsafe conditions on campus due to Sun God Festival and prevalent anti-Muslim bias. Read the rest of this entry »

Open Letter to AVP Athletic Relations

In D1 Referendum 2012 on February 28, 2012 at 5:47 pm

[This letter was sent to Aurora Lopez, AVP Athletic Relations, on February 26th. It is intended to address the entire athletic community.]

Dear Aurora,

I am personally writing to you about March 1st because I have been quite vocal against the DI referendum, and because I am sure that the athletics community feels that March 1st is not for them. I entreat you to support March 1st by encouraging athletes to attend, by forwarding this email to your athletics contacts, and by attending yourself.

I want to emphasize to you, and to the athletic community in general, that March 1st is a day for education first and foremost, and that there are problems with our public education system which directly affect athletes. The loss of state funding has seriously harmed athletics programs at UCSB, UCI, UCR and UCD to name just a few. Increased system-wide mandatory fees harm athletes just as they harm other students, if not more because athletes already have such full schedules.

Unfortunately, for many students the fight is against any increase in fees for which they perceive no benefit. Many of the organizers for March 1st fall within that group, and so the issues of state-wide fees (which affect us all) and campus fees (like DI) have been run together. The reaction against the DI referendum is a product of the current atmosphere of fee escalation. If the regents and UCOP were not facing the possibility of raising fees by 16% annually, the D1 referendum would be far less contentious than it has proven to be.

I believe our athletes deserve to advance to DI. We are the largest school in DII and we already have three sports in DI. That being said, all students have been made to suffer through cut backs, and fee increases, not just athletes. We all deserve a better, more affordable education, and while we will have different priorities I believe we can all agree there are problems within our system which are unacceptable to everyone.

Athletics are an important part of a college experience, and neither I, nor anyone I have spoken to, is against DI in and of itself. It is part of the tragedy of our system that many students feel they cannot support program improvements they would otherwise love to have.

Please show your solidarity.

Sincerely,

Kevin Quirolo

Publication: Report on the Profitability of Education

In California, Privatization on February 14, 2012 at 11:29 pm

The “Report on the Profitability of Education and the Exploitability of Students” was compiled by two UCSD students, based on the ‘Teach the Budget’ curriculum developed by graduate students at UCSC. It contains detailed sections on the cost of UC tuition, the regents, the state of California, student activism, and much more. It is fully footnoted with emphasis on primary sources.

It is available in a digital format, as well as a printable format, which folds into a booklet. References and Appendix are published online as well.

DIGITAL

PRINTABLE

REFERENCES AND APPENDIX