Posts Tagged ‘UCSD’

Welcome Back to the Struggle!

In Disorientation 2012, National Politics, Palestine Solidarity, Student-Worker Relations on September 18, 2012 at 11:49 pm

On this, the day after the 1 year anniversary of the inauguration of Occupy Wall Street, it looks as though we know with near certainty who will be elected this coming January. Mitt Romney’s campaign is in shambles, and prominent Democrats like Nancy Pelosi are claiming the the election is sealed for President Obama – and this was BEFORE Romney’s Watergate-scale video that was released. Although some people believe that the comments made in this video are too damning for Romney to continue campaigning, he continues to stand by his statements – and so do his supporters, as I had the misfortune of being told in a Starbucks this evening. Meanwhile, President Obama has successfully appealed the right to indefinitely detain American citizens, and the Chicago Teacher’s Union have suspended their strike (although they have NOT ratified their contract yet).

In light of all this exciting news, and because the school year starts in about a week, it’s time to get this blog up and running again!

I want to give a brief rundown of some of the different things affecting UCSD, and the UC as a whole, and then talk about organizing efforts and some of the things planned here on campus.

Political Propositions:

There are a whole litany of propositions on the ballot this year that are important.

Proposition 30, Jerry Brown’s tax initiative, is a crucial piece of legislation, as it will freeze tuition for a year if passed. However, there is no guarantee that tuition will not go up in the future, even it is passed; if it does not pass, we are facing a 20.3% tuition  increase in January of this year (,0,53917.story)

Proposition 32 is nothing less than an all-out assault on unions. Please take some time to check out the research, who is donating, and why this is bad news for California.

Propositions 34 and 36 deal with prison reform; I don’t know much about them, but I know that they’re important (just like all ballot measures); be sure to research these!

Proposition 37 would require mandatory labeling of all Genetically Modified food. This would be a huge step forward for food justice, and there are a lot of companies like Monsanto fighting against it, so please research this proposition as well. Read the rest of this entry »

“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, ( 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


Undergraduate Experience Survey

In Uncategorized on April 20, 2012 at 3:15 am

Hey Everyone!
You should all take the Undergraduate Experience Survey!
You get in a drawing for iPads and stuff!
here’s the link:

At the very end, when they ask for any more comments, please copy and paste this information:







also, in the section asking if I had additional comments about how the cost of my education is affecting me, I wrote:

I believe that the privatization of the University is a despicable trend that must be actively fought against at the University administrative level. It is appalling to know that management outnumbers faculty on this campus – that is not what we, the STUDENTS, should be paying for.
It is appalling to know that the Regents and their lackeys, the Chancellors, are willing to put the burden of debt on students when opportunities and earning-power continues to decrease, and student debt continues to balloon (past credit card debt, even).
The students of this campus have tried time and time again this year to entire into dialogue with the administration – even resorting to camping in your Conference Room for two weeks. We have some of the best-articulated demands this campus has seen in the past decade (other than the demands of the BSU from 2010, which still have not been implemented yet).
Instead of listening to us when we take over libraries and demand dialogue, what do you do?
Chancellor Fox, you are a pathetic pawn for the interests of the Regents. Don’t you dare point to any of the activism done here and co-opt it into “letting students express their free voice”.
Suresh Subramani, Penny Rue, Gary Ratcliff, Gary Matthews, Barbara Sawrey, and every other administrator that has pretended to listen to the students, or advertised to incoming freshman that you are “here to listen” – know that the students are becoming more and more aware of your insidious ways. You may think that you can continue to put more money in your pockets, and close libraries, and create more Campus Climate committees where all the dirty laundry can be shoved behind closed doors, but the times are changing. The Public Education Coalition is not going anywhere. We will continue to be a hornet’s nest in your house of cards. We will not leave you alone until the University is restored to its original purpose.
Public Education is a RIGHT, not a privilege.
I hope to personally deliver a pink slip to each and every one of you before I leave this university.
Sean Estelle

I encourage people to copy and paste this and write their names. When the same text is repeated, folks might actually pay attention.

Prioritize Students, Not Politician Interests

In California, Privatization on April 18, 2012 at 8:00 am

Dear Editor,

Amazing the things you can do if you’re wealthy. If you’re a politician or university administrator, you can help run our country or university into bankruptcy while enriching yourself. You can hire friends to write garbage reports about UC ‘leftism’ because it fits your agenda.

Of course the UCs are leftist,with administration slashing the number of transfer students, raising tuition to unobtainable levels for the poor and working class, and removing affirmative action that leveled the playing field for those struggling to get into the racist UCs. The UCs and the state perpetuate the problems of rich becoming richer and well educated, leaving the masses out of opportunity and forced into shitty jobs to fuel the 1 percent!

The report that the Guardian decided to waste space with fails to even define “Leftist,” i.e. anti-capitalist. Recent polls by conservative agencies have found that our generation, especially folks of color and poor folks, are increasingly becoming critical of, if not anti-capitalist, and our politicians and university administration are doing everything in their power to fight these trends from suppressing free speech and activism through campus stay away orders, barring students unjustly from political activities, to arresting, beating and pepper-spraying them.

As Michael Parenti writes, bias “…moves in more or less consistent directions, favoring management over labor…and conservative commentators and columnists over progressive or radical ones.”

Read every statement from UC administration (and the Guardian) who claim to be on our side but carry the state’s bias that we are “out of money,” “K-12 teachers are paid too much,” “people must be patient” and “things are complex.”

When in reality, we have the money to fully fund education, but it comes at the expense of dismantling the bias that administration and the state push on student and workers. Radical and leftist are words used to isolate small groups. The vast majority of this nation and world, even Republican Californians, are what we’d call ‘radical’ politically, wanting free, not fee-d public education, universal healthcare, an end to our illegal wars and think “from each according to their ability to each according to their needs” is in the U.S. Constitution.

It’s time to fight for a university that actually prioritizes the interests of students and workers, not the red-baiting fears of politicians and administration. The poor and middle class pay a disproportionate amount of our taxes compared to the wealthy for an education that has increasingly become unaffordable.

To organize with students and workers who are fighting to reclaim our university, come to Public Education Coalition meetings Mondays at 7 p.m. at the SRC in Price West.

—Nikolai Smith

Ph.D., Department of Sociology

[originally published in the 4/17/12 issue of The Guardian]

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.



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.


A coalition of students, workers, and faculty at UCSD



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 »

Chancellor Fox’s “Response” to the March 1st Demands

In California, Privatization, Reclaim Chancellor's Complex on March 8, 2012 at 5:01 pm

Dear Public Education Coalition:

We appreciate your initiative to organize activities on March 1 in support of public education in California. We support events that draw attention to the increasing challenges our University community faces because of the erosion of state funding, and we fully agree with the call for California to once again support the California Master Plan of Education as an integral facet of economic stability for our state’s families. We will continue to press the case for investment in the UC with out elected representatives in Sacramento.

You also have articulated a series of campus-specific, budget-related demands that range from support for selected academic support programs to access to campus spaces. We have and will continue to work across the campus to fairly accommodate the budget reductions that have touched every aspect of campus life. We take very seriously our responsibility to oversee the campus resources to benefit all. As we make these difficult decisions, we will continue to give strong consideration to input from all segments of the campus community.

Since 1990, the state’s contribution to educating each UC student has dropped more than 50%. The magnitude of the cutbacks cannot continue without seriously affecting the quality of education at the University of California. We share your disappointment and frustration with the deep and lasting budget cuts. Therefore, we encourage you to join the UC Regents and colleagues from all campuses on May 17, 2012 for a march on Sacramento. Our unified support can make a difference for current and future students.


Marye Anne Fox


c: Executive Vice Chancellor

Vice Chancellors


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.]

SJP at UCSD Denounces ASUCSD

In Uncategorized on March 5, 2012 at 9:00 am

SJP at UCSD Denounces ASUCSD Failure to Uphold Principles of Community and Corporate Responsibility for Palestinian Human Rights

9:05pm 2 March 2012
Students for Justice in Palestine, UC San Diego

Associated Students at UCSD failed the “Resolution in Support of UC San Diego Corporate Accountability through Divestment from Corporations Profiting from Violent Conflict” in a 13-20-0. The decision came after over seven hours of public input and deliberation.

The SJP community and its allies were repeatedly demonized by members of the public as well as university staff and faculty. UCSD students were publicly singled out, followed, and harassed outside the AS chambers. In addition, senators who were seen as sympathetic to SJP’s dedication to corporate responsibility and human rights were sent threats and verbally harassed throughout the night. SJP questions the dedication of administration to Principles of Community as no authority present made moves to protect the student body from such intimidation.

Such open hostility is not new for those who advocate for human rights and corporate responsibility on campus. Earlier this quarter, SJP members were harassed at their event by university staff, fliers for the organization have continually been defaced, and students are continually harassed during Muslim Student Association’s Justice in Palestine week. Despite this, students have still presented issues such as divestment, and will continue to do so.

Furthermore, It has come to the attention of SJP at UCSD that the office of the president at AS sent emails advocating for the rejection of the divestment bill. President Alyssa Wing also attempted to contact outside organizations and individuals to submit open letters aimed to frame divestment as divisive. SJP at UCSD condemns her abuse of executive power as a violation of the Principles of Community. Additionally, the rhetoric she employed in accusing students of playing a “game” is deeply offensive. SJP questions whether advocating for the corporate responsibility and the humanity of Palestinians are what the office of the president believes to be a “game.”

SJP at UCSD encourages students to contact AS president Alyssa Wing at or 858.534.4452 to express distaste with the tactics of her office and the decision reached by Associated Students at UC San Diego regarding divestment.

Students for Justice in Palestine is a diverse group of students, faculty, staff, and community members centered at the University of California, San Diego and organized in accordance with democratic principles to promote justice, human rights, and the right of self-determination for the Palestinian people.

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:

Photo: Cat Martini

Photos: Sharon Bach