Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Letter of Support and Solidarity to UCSD Black Student Union

March 1, 2010

To the UCSD Black Student Union and their allies:

We, the members of Asian Pacific Islander Education and Languages NOW! (APIEL NOW!) at UC Berkeley, are outraged by the racist, hostile, and demoralizing events that have transpired over the past two weeks at UC San Diego. We stand in full solidarity with your struggle to push the UCSD administration both to change its institutionalized practices of racism, classism, sexism, and homophobia and to commit to creating a safe and empowering living and learning environment for the African-American community and other historically underrepresented communities of color on campus.

Far from being isolated incidents of racism at UCSD that can be addressed through teach-ins, the “Compton Cookout,” the racially derogatory comments made by SR-TV, and the noose found hanging in the UCSD library collectively point to the deeper problems of institutional racism and marginalization both within and outside of the education system that perpetuate these kind of ignorant and hateful acts. In a joint statement, the UC President and the Chancellors condemn the racist incidents and state that they “reflect neither our principles nor the values, nor the sentiments of the University of California community,” yet it is clear to all communities of color that condemnation alone does not create real change, nor does it begin to address the real root of the problem: the continued segregation of public schools; the lack of stable and fully-funded resources to recruit, retain, and support students of color in all levels of education; the repeated division of labor along racial, gender, and class lines; the barriers that continually deny underrepresented communities access to public services such as affordable health care, decent housing, stable jobs, decent working conditions, and adequate representation; and the failure of the educational system to build awareness about and to teach students about racism, classism, sexism, homophobia, and the need for affirmative action.

We in APIEL NOW! recognize that the fight communities of color face in higher education is against an administration that neither prioritizes students, faculty and workers of color, nor is willing to transform the higher education system into one that actually acknowledges and actively seek to fight the daily oppression and exclusion that underrepresented communities of color face. We are outraged that even though African American students make up only 1.3% of the student population at UCSD, the UC administration still plans to implement a new admissions policy in 2012 that will effectively decrease the number of African American students previously eligible for guaranteed admission to UC by nearly 50%. “Representation” and “diversity” at the UC are both empty terms. Having representation from historically underrepresented communities on a campus does not mean that they are equal, nor does it mean that their peers will automatically have, and more importantly, practice a critical understanding of the history of violence, repression, and exclusion that underrepresented communities face on a daily basis.

We fully support the demands that you have raised, all of which point to key ways to build permanent and institutionally-supported classes, programs, support services (academic, emotional, financial), and spaces that will create a welcoming campus climate and learning environment actively shaped by the African American community’s and historically underrepresented ethnic communities’ concerns and demands.

We stand behind your demand that UCSD better educate the campus about underrepresented communities’ histories through mandated diversity sensitivity requirements in African-American Studies, Ethnic Studies, and Gender Studies, and we hope that the university will develop these departments so they have the breadth and depth necessary to give students a comprehensive understanding of the struggles that underrepresented communities of color face in a society that is still fundamentally divided and racist. The budget cuts are no excuse for not making immediate changes to a deeply flawed curriculum and educational system. The San Francisco Unified School District, for example, where 90% of the K-12 students are nonwhite, just approved a pilot program last week that will add Ethic Studies classes to their high school curriculum. Alongside UCSD BSU, we will continue to fight to make Ethnic Studies, African-American Studies, Gender and Woman Studies, Chicana/o Latina/o Studies, Native American Studies, Middle-Eastern Studies, Asian Pacific Islander American Studies, and South/Southeast Asian Studies an integral part of every K-UC school.

Today, we watched the Black community at UC Berkeley stand in front of Sather Gate for two-and-a-half hours in silent solidarity with you and pass out literature to the rest of the student body – literature that documented both the acts of hatred that took place at UCSD, as well as every racist incident that has taken place against the Black community at UC Berkeley for the past nine years. Next Monday, we will stand in solidarity at Sather Gate with you and with them when they hold their second nonviolent, silent demonstration at Sather Gate. We are ready to help in whatever way we can to fight for the rights of those in our communities who have been marginalized and oppressed.

In solidarity and struggle,

Asian Pacific Islander Education and Languages NOW!

UC Berkeley

Monday, March 1, 2010

Petition in Solidarity with Black Students at UCSD

Please visit and sign the following petition in solidarity with Black students at UC San Diego.


Sunday, February 28, 2010

Basic Fact Sheet on the 2012 Admissions Policy


+ Starting in 2012, the percentage of California students eligible for guaranteed admission to the UC system will decrease from 12.5% to 10%. The new policy eliminates the requirement for 2 SAT II Subject Tests and creates a new category of students who are “entitled to a review of application, but not guaranteed admission.“

+ If the policy had been in effect in 2007, 18,000 fewer California high school students would have been eligible for guaranteed admission to the UC system.

+ The new criteria cut eligibility for guaranteed admission across the board, but minorities bear an inequitable share of the lost guarantees. If the policy had been in effect in 2007, 50% fewer African Americans, 42% fewer Chicano/Latinos, 41% fewer Filipinos, 39% fewer Pacific Islanders, and 36% fewer Asian Americans would have been eligible for guaranteed admission. The number of whites would decrease only 23%. (These declines are not a projected simulation, but based purely on a bright-line test of eligibility).

+ The policy results in increased reliance on SAT Reasoning Test Scores to determine eligibility for guaranteed admission.

+ Although the policy creates a more diverse pool of students “eligible for review,“ this change will fail to increase diversity since comprehensive review at UC campuses is already under pressure to decrease in-state enrollment and increase out-of-state enrollment. Reducing the percentage of CA students guaranteed admission to UC and replacing it with “entitlement to review” exposes in-state enrollment to systematic erosion during times of budget crisis. (Already at UC Berkeley, the number of Latino freshmen who enroll next year could decline by 18%, the number of black freshmen by 13%, and the number of first-generation freshmen by 15%).

+ Although Yudof and the administration claim that this policy will increase diversity at UC, the results of three simulation studies suggest that this policy will either have "race neutral" effects or will decrease African American enrollment anywhere from 27%-33%, decrease Latino enrollment by nearly 3%, and decrease Asian American enrollment by 11%. Proposition 209, which eliminated affirmative action in 1998, led to a decline in African American admissions by 12.6%.

Where can I find information that supports the policy? http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/eligibilitychanges/faqs.html


Come to our next organizing meeting on Tuesday, March 2nd from 4-6 PM in the Multicultural Center (MLK Student Union)

For more info, contact API Education and Languages Now! (apielnow@gmail.com or http://apielnow.blogspot.com)

Response to Durant Hall Occupation Statements

I want to respond briefly to the various accounts that describe the history of Durant Hall and why it was occupied.

The "Occupy California" website states that "Durant Hall had once been a haven for East Asian Language studies, but is now being remodeled into another administration building."

Reclaim UC states: "No longer is there any trace of the library it once was -- the East Asian Library, now moved across campus to a new building named after an insurance mogul who founded the notorious AIG. Language has been uprooted, pruned, and replanted as well. The Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures went with the library, and in the process lost half its Japanese, Korean, and Chinese classes as well as the faculty that taught them -- over 1,500 curious students will be turned away this year."

Durant Hall was far from a "haven" for the Asian language lecturers who were continually marginalized, disenfranchised, and excluded on a daily basis in their departments within that building -- something that continues today. The language programs have been slashed for years, so the claim that EALC "went with the library" is, I think, a false one: these programs had been disappearing for years as the result of a slow but continuous slashing of sections and funding even before the library moved from Durant Hall to the new C.V. Starr Library in 2008. When the administration threatened in 2008 to cut the language programs and lecturers by upwards of 50%, students and lecturers held massive protests and press conferences and were in fact able to reverse those cuts. This is not to say that everything is fine in EALC because those cuts were reversed -- things are far from fine. Budget cuts continue to shave away language classes one section at a time; the language lecturers -- particularly pre-six lecturers -- continue to bear the burden of the cuts because of their weak job security; students on overflowing waiting lists are turned away from language sections because the university refuses to open up more sections, to hire more instructors, and to acknowledge that there has been and continues to be a very real demand for these classes that the university is not meeting. Yet it is absolutely essential to understand the actual internal politics of Durant Hall and EALC before publishing statements like "Why Durant Hall?" and "The Durant Riot: Initial Brief," both of which disguise the fact that Durant Hall was in fact a symbol of repression for the very language lecturers who worked inside of it as well as a symbol of vast inequalities between the EALC literature program and the EALC language program.

I know that these statements were made with the best of intentions and I appreciate that Reclaim UC is giving attention to a program that has been and continues to be devalued by the administration, but please make sure that these statements are factually correct before passing them out to the campus community. We have a great opportunity here to reach out to a segment of the campus community that has been actively fighting for EALC language programs and lecturers for years, but in order to do that we need to understand EALC and Durant Hall's true history and politics. If you're interested in learning more, APIEL NOW! (Asian Pacific Islander Education and Languages NOW!), EALC lecturers and SSEAS lecturers have been working on a task force report that documents these inequalities and the long degeneration of the programs in detail.

-- Katherine Lee