reclaimucsd

Posts Tagged ‘Shared Governance’

“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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CLICS Poll

In Reclaim CLICS on March 6, 2012 at 6:30 am

In the spring of 2011, the closure of four libraries was announced, despite mandatory fees having increased 32% the previous year. Additionally, plans to renovate CLICS have been made by an advisory committee with members of ASUCSD as student representatives. As part of the goal of promoting transparency, shared-governance and democratization please respond to the following poll questions:

[The first question was first heavily edited by AS, then mistakenly left off the special elections ballot.]

Publication: Privatization Pamphlet

In California, Privatization, Reclaim Chancellor's Complex on March 4, 2012 at 6:51 pm

The problems facing the California government and the UC are neither permanent nor inevitable. Learn more about the problems, and see the potential solutions. Read the Pamphlet:

Budget Cuts, Fee Hikes, Privatization

More information and commentary is available in the full Report on Privatization, which is the source for most of the research contained in this pamphlet.

March 1st: Retrospect Gallery

In California, Privatization on March 4, 2012 at 1:35 pm

On March 1st, UCSD student’s held a demonstration against budget cuts, fee hikes, worker’s marginalization and the inequity of the K-12 system. To contribute photos or learn more about continued participation in fighting for educational and social justice email: marchformarch2012@gmail.com

Photo: Cat Martini

Photos: Sharon Bach

Election Grievance: Details of Alleged Violation

In D1 Referendum 2012 on March 3, 2012 at 3:08 pm

Former AS president, UCSD alumnus Utsav Gupta sent out an email to many students containing demonstrably false and misleading information, urging students to vote yes on the DI referendum.

In the email he claims that those on financial aid will not be harmed by this referendum because of its 29% allocation to increase aid funds. This is misleading, since some financial aid comes in the form of loans which must be repaid, and in that case will hurt those on financial aid. He claims that our US News ranking will be improved by a DI program. This is false, since US News does not consider sports in its ranking, and only through increased alumni support (not sports) would our ranking improve. He claims that UCSD is the only DII UC. This is misleading since it implies that all other UCs are DI, when in fact UCSC is DIII and UC Merced is not currently in an NCAA division. He claims that this referendum is a step towards a football team. This is misleading because he does not note the fact that the Feasibility study concluded football was not feasible at UCSD and would entail an additional $33 million to support.

Given 1) the immense influence that this act could have on the election, 2) its egregious impropriety considering its inaccuracy and possibly improper access to a UCSD-wide listserv, 3) previous allegations of serious conspiracy and foul play, given 4) that AS has no authority over Mr. Gupta since he is neither part of an official campaign nor a student, 5) that Mr. Gupta is an employee of UCSD as an Alumni Outreach Officer and that other UCSD employee’s have had their personal opinions on private networks censored in an effort to maintain neutrality, and 6) that requesting an apology or fine will not undo the impact this misinformation may have on the election results:

I ask the AS Elections Committee, Advocate General, and/or Judicial Board to recognize these as exceptional and extenuating circumstances regarding the two-day deadline for considering this grievance.

If these entities are unable to establish exceptional and extenuating circumstances, and are thereby unable to consider this grievance, I ask that these entities, and AS Council to do the following immediately: 1) publicly denounce this email as an egregiously improper effort by a UCSD employee to influence a student election, 2) publicly endorse, promote, and provide access to at polling stations the letter writing campaign I have initiated concerning this email 3) seriously consider the potential for this email to undermine the possibility of this election remaining neutral, fair, and valid.

[This grievance was covered by the UCSD Guardian on March 5th, 2012. Between February 27 and March 9 UCSD undergraduates will vote on a referendum that will raise the Athletics student fee 134%, to a total of $854 per year, in order to fund a move to D1 in the event that UCSD receives a bid from a D1 conference.]

Don’t forget to vote!

Statement of Intentions from the Reclaimers of the Chancellor’s Complex to the UCSD Administration

In California, Privatization on March 3, 2012 at 5:55 am
  • We have initiated a civil, peaceful, and indefinite Reclamation of the UC San Diego Chancellor’s Complex.
  • If the Administration fails to fully implement these six Demands by March 8th, large-scale community action will be taken against the Administration.
  • If the Administration cannot implement any particular Demand(s) by March 8th, they must provide an acceptable justification and a detailed timeline for rapid implementation.
  • Because our assembly is public and promotes transparency, the Administration is invited and encouraged to continue holding meetings in Conference Room 111A for the duration of the Reclamation.
  • We have the right to actively and civilly participate in any such meetings.
  • Furthermore, we insist that the Administration play an advocacy role on behalf of our statewide and national demands.

Sincerely,

A coalition of students, Alumni, faculty, workers, and community members. Read the rest of this entry »

Letter writing campaign: Thank Former AS President for Trying to Influence Our Election

In D1 Referendum 2012 on February 29, 2012 at 11:06 pm

Former AS President and UCSD alumnus Utsav Gupta has sent out a mass email to a UCSD-wide listserv from his personal email address[1]. While the illegitimacy of this act is unclear, it is offensively unscrupulous for anyone to use such a strong tool to try to influence a vote on undergraduate student-fees after graduating.

Gupta would really appreciate it if you checked your ucsd.edu email and responded to him with something like the following courteous message:

Dear Utsav Gupta,

Thank you for trying to influence my vote for a referendum whose outcome poses no risk to you, but will cost students an additional $495 a year. It is heartening to know that alumni support a sports team in thought. I would prefer it if they supported sports financially, rather than making struggling undergraduates pay for alumni’s sense of legacy, but I understand how times are hard.

Thanks again.

Signed,

[your name]

PS: Why don’t you do your job by sending a mass email to the 150 alumni the UC pays you to ask for money, and ask them to support DI instead? [2]

He deserves the flood of community support.

Between February 27 and March 9 UCSD undergraduates will vote on a referendum that will raise the Athletics student fee 134%, to a total of $854 per year, in order to fund a move to D1 in the event that UCSD receives a bid from a D1 conference.

Don’t forget to vote!

____________________________________________

[1] https://reclaimucsd.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/guptas-letter.png

Screen cap for the wary:

[2] http://www.linkedin.com/in/utsavgupta

March 1st Demands

In Privatization, Reclaim CLICS on February 27, 2012 at 10:53 pm

STATE OF EMERGENCY: ACTION FOR EDUCATIONAL JUSTICE

University of California, San Diego

March 1, 2012

I. PREFACE

It is with immediate concern that the administration of the University of California, San Diego address issues of upholding the promises of the California Master Plan of Education for an accessible, public, and free University of California. Though the Master Plan does not qualify the meaning of accessibility and equity or address the structural racism of the education system, our expectation is that the University of California be accessible and free regardless of race, socio-economic status, immigration status, or other potential barriers to access.

We, the Public Education Coalition (Faculty, Graduates, Undergraduates, Staff, United Auto Workers, AFSCME Workers, and other workers’ organizations), Reclaim UCSD, the Student Affirmative Action Committee (The Asian Pacific-Islander Student Alliance, Black Student Union, Kaibigang Pilipino, Movimiento Estudiantil Chican@ Aztlan, Muslim Student Association, Native American Student Alliance, Queer People of Color, Students with Disabilities Coalition), and numerous allies at the University of California, San Diego have the following concerns, expectations, and demands:

We, the Students, Faculty, Staff and Workers of the University of California, San Diego, demand that the library formerly known as “CLICS” be reopened, owned and run by and for students and librarians (not under the Executive Vice-Chancellor of Academic Affairs), and refunded by the University through decreases in administrator salaries and student fees and increases in taxes on the wealthy and corporations. In order to pursue these ends, we are committed to uniting with people and movements in all sectors of society, all around the world, from Chile to Puerto Rico, from Greece to Spain, from Egypt to Iran, from Peru to Ireland to the Phillipines, from Occupy Wall Street to Occupied Palestine, from UC Riverside to UC Davis to UC Berkeley, who share our commitment to the empowerment of workers, students, and the unemployed to create an equitable and compassionate society. Our peoples will rise to decolonize UCSD, which is on occupied Kumeyaay land, to decriminalize the border and to smash imperialism and capitalism in our country and throughout the world. Through collective struggle we will reverse the privatization of our University and reclaim public education as a human right for all people. Read the rest of this entry »

Statement at ASUCSD Public Input Session 2/22/12

In Privatization on February 22, 2012 at 11:26 pm

I come tonight to express my deep disappointment with ASUCSD.

On Wednesday, February 8th, a Resolution to support March 1st and the Call to Action from the Public Education Coalition was passed by this governing body.

The language in this resolution is quite explicit in its declaration for AS to fully and actively support this call to action.

There have been lots of discussions lately about why AS as a body needs to maintain its neutrality on the position of Division 1 Athletics, while still encouraging students to vote; however, individual members are well within their rights to express personal opinions and stances on this issue.

The way I see it, this resolution supporting March 1st binds AS as a body to actively support and educate the student body and the University Administration about March 1st and help garner support for it.

When I went to UC Riverside for the Regents meeting on January 19th, ASUCR was out there in the streets with us the whole time. They were passing out buttons and shirts that said “AS – Taking A Stand 2012.” They led chants and they were there when the cops showed up. They were exhibiting true leadership throughout the day.

Then I came back to UCSD, and what did I see? I saw student government bringing an election to students that will potentially have them raising fees on themselves in one vote; and including a survey question that hides proposed budget numbers from the greater student population and, in my opinion, delegitimizes students’ efforts to reclaim our university from the poisonous effects of fee hikes and privatization.

That’s not what I want to see from my student government. I want to see students dedicated to the issues that are hitting them the hardest. I want to see this body dedicated to issues that are greater than profit margins and resumé padding. Read the rest of this entry »

CALL TO ACTION: March 1st

In California, Privatization on February 21, 2012 at 2:45 am

[Please share this call to action with your friends, professors, colleagues, TAs, PIs, roommates, and who ever else you think should read it]

Students, instructors and staff you have a stake in the future of the UC. The public nature of the UC is under threat, but on March 1st we are coming together to defend it.

Students, mandatory fees set by the regents have more than doubled since 2001 adjusted for inflation.[1] At the same time, UCSD’s average debt at graduation increased 20%.[2] In 2009, 48% of UCSD students graduated with debt at an average of $18,757.[3] Since 1990 expenditure per student has fallen over 19%.[4] At the same time state support per student fell 60% while tuition support more than tripled.[5] The UC shifted from public funding toward personal, private funding. This shift was not and is not inevitable. Students: the ability of many of your qualified colleagues to attend a UC is threatened by this shift,[6] but you can help.

Instructors, between 1995 and 2010, while positions for teaching in the UC system increased 48%, positions in senior management increased 182%.[7] In 2007, a retired UC Berkeley professor estimated the excess growth in senior management to cost the UC $603 million annually.[8] As instructors retire they are not replaced,[9] and some of your colleagues at UCSD were recently recruited to a private institution.[10] The UC is moving from academic to entrepreneur. This movement is not inevitable. Instructors: the priority for the UC to attract, retain and support your colleagues has been misplaced, but you can help.

Staff, starting in 1999 the UC regents began to funnel pension fund money into riskier investments. Since 2004 billions of dollars have been invested through private investment firms which are non-transparent, lightly regulated, highly risky, and which have charged the UC tens of millions of dollars so far.[11] The UC’s pension and investment portfolios lost $23 billion in the 2008 financial crisis, some of which were made against the advice of a former treasurer[12] and in full awareness of the risk.[13] The UC is now asking for workers to pay into the pension system as they cut benefits to absorb its losses.[14] The UC privatized and jeopardized its investments. This was not and is not inevitable Staff: The risks taken by the regents promise to harm you, your families, and your colleagues, but you can help. Read the rest of this entry »