The State of Emergency rally was held May 6th. Students organizers waited for a response from EVC Galloway, since she had promised a meeting with student leaders and other administrators including Chancellor Blumenthal and Ashish Sahni. The following statement was a letter that students wrote to EVC Galloway in regards to holding her accountable for her words:
Dear EVC Galloway,
This letter is in response to the rally held outside of Kerr Hall regarding the racist-anti-immigrant vandalism found at Cowell College. We would like to acknowledge that you were present and willing to listen to our stories and grievances regarding the campus climate and how the vandalism made us feel. We also appreciate your willingness to have a meeting regarding how the University can best respond to our needs. Despite this willingness we also acknowledge that historically UCSC has provided the bare minimum of resources for students of color. This is something we hope to remedy through a serious discussion of the demands attached below and the options we have available to us as students of color in a dominantly white institution. We also would like you to understand that the processes that currently exist at UCSC were not created for students of color and that it may take an interventionist approach to meet the needs of students of color. We would like you to take our intellectual diversity much more serious than the university seems to take our bodies and culture. The academic success of students of color is contingent upon real and tangible responses to the concerns, needs, and demands of these students. In order to seriously impact the climate that exist here at UCSC we request the following:
1. A meeting with the chancellors and the commissioner of diversity before spring quarter ends. This meeting would be open to the student leadership that organized the Latin@ State of emergency and their colleagues, ideally before the end of May.
2. A UCSC town hall meeting regarding the campus climate with a particular emphasis on the racist, heteropatriarchical, ableist expressions throughout the university.
Student Demands (subject to change): •
1. An establishment of an Intergenerational Immigrant Resource Center, with its own physical space, as a response to the needs of undocumented students (AB540) and students from immigrant backgrounds. Funding of AB540/undocumented education through institutional aid & intervention.•
2. The realization of a Critical Race & Ethnic Studies (CRES) Department with permanent faculty lines, a major and a minor, a CRES research center and a field studies component.•
3. The expansion of the Ethnic Resources Centers (ERC) beyond their current location, which is currently half a floor, and the expansion beyond the “four food groups” (Chican@/Latin@, African American, American Indian, Asian American Pacific Islander) to represent other groups, particularly a Middle Eastern Resource Center.•
4. Sustained, fully funded recruitment and retention of students from underrepresented and underserved communities. In particular, full-time recruiter in Student Admissions who will outreach to underserved communities in San Jose and East Palo Alto. Make Student Retention Services a responsibility of the University not the students.•
5. The creation of new locations of representation for students beyond SUA/College government that affect policy, budget, and the development of UCSC, especially considering that we are now paying more than the state for our education. •
6. Creating an open and democratic process for replacing any of the current Ethnic Resource Directors should they leave their position.
Thank you for your time and we will be waiting for your response.
Concerned Students of Color
In response, EVC Galloway took the initiative to create an ethnic studies forum without consulting people who have already been organizing around this issue including faculty, graduate students, and undergrads.
May 16, 2011
To: UCSC Students
Fr: Alison Galloway, Campus Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor and Herbie Lee, Interim Vice Provost for Academic Affairs
Re: Student Forum on Ethnic Studies, May 24
To continue ongoing discussions around the issue of ethnic studies, all students are invited to a forum on Tuesday, May 24, from 5:30 – 7:00 p.m. at the Merrill College Cultural Center. The forum will include a brief presentation and time for questions and answers. Most importantly, this will be a venue for deeper conversations about how students, faculty, and campus administration can work together.
We want to hear more about your ideas and concerns and engage in dialogue about possibilities around ethnic studies curriculum. All faculty are also being invited to participate. Please mark your calendars and join the forum on May 24 to share your perspective.
This email was frustrating to read, because it sounds like the administration is now going to take on this project of creating an ethnic studies department. However, the administration’s bureaucracy is alienating and hierarchical contrasting the goals of a critical race and ethnic studies which is to break down traditional Western barriers. Furthermore, the administrators are culturally incompetent and far removed from students and the struggles we face. How can we expect administrators to help us if they cannot acknowledge their privilege? This email and proposed forum seems like an inefficient way to work. By creating this forum with a “presentation” they are dismissing the work that is being done by student activists.
Why would EVC Galloway choose to start from scratch so to speak on this issue when students and faculty have been meeting and working around creating a critical race and ethnic studies for months? This clearly suggests that the hard work of students and faculty is not being respected.
This post in no way is meant to deter other students from getting involved. The issues presented at UCSC and within education in general have significant effects.