ATTN: Today-LegCouncil Humanities Reps will Present a Resolution to Garner ASUCI Support

Today (February 7th, 2012), Legislative Council Humanities Representatives, Brian Dinh & Neil Bautista, will present a resolution to garner ASUCI support of the E.S.C.A.P.E. response, and further advocacy for critical studies.

The meeting will be held in the Student Center, Woods Cove BC at 5 PM. Please attend to support their resolution & place pressure on the other legislative council members! Demand a progressive stance from ASUCI. 

Dean of UG Education Salinger Conducting Survey on Multicultural Studies

Four days ago, undisclosed recipients received an email from Sharon V. Salinger, the Dean of Undergraduate Education. Her email appears to be in dialogue with or a reaction to one of E.S.C.A.P.E.’s demands to, “Reform the Multicultural general educational requirement to mandate all students to take at least two Women’s Studies, Queer Studies, or Ethnic Studies courses.”  

We hope that the responses collected will strengthen the criteria for which classes should fulfill the Multicultural General Education Requirement that should fulfill the mission of developing cultural competency & the understanding of historical and current systematic oppression.

The email reads:

The UCI faculty (the Academic Senate) is assessing the campus’ general education program and needs your help.  You are receiving this email because you took a multicultural studies general education course during Fall 2011. Results from this short survey will be used to help faculty understand what students in these courses learned and how these course can be improved. The results will also be used as a part of UCI’s accreditation. 

This is an anonymous survey – no one will be able to tell which responses were yours – and it should take only 5 minutes to complete. 
It’s at:  
http://eee.uci.edu/survey/MulticulturalStudiesCourses

If you have any questions about the survey, please contact Anita Iannucci, Ph.D. in my office, atIannucci@uci.edu or (949) 824-7828.

Thank you!

Sharon V. Salinger
Dean
Division of Undergraduate Education”

Addressed to Dean of Humanities: Chair of AAS Supports E.S.C.A.P.E. Response

ATTN: Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor & Provost Addresses E.S.C.A.P.E. & “Needs Attention” Memo

Today, representatives from the Executive Vice President’s office brought the “Needs Attention” memo to Administration’s attention, relayed the concerns and demands made by many students and faculty, and specifically asked for a response to E.S.C.A.P.E’s letter concerning the memo.
Outcomes from the meeting are as follows:
 
1) It is confirmed that Executive Vice-Chancellor and Provost, Michael Gottfredson, has been heavily involved in writing the memo, as well as leading the budget workgroup dealing with campus resources. 

2) When asked, he stated that he is not looking into cutting courses, majors or departments. His budget decisions allocate money to Schools, and it is up to the Schools to use the money at their discretion. He was extremely ambiguous on whether the school of Humanities had received less funding or not. He stated that if we provide him names, we can have an opportunity to work further this the budget workgroup. We think it is important to hold him accountable of this. 

3) He believes there is a misunderstanding on the meaning of “Needs Attention”. In his opinion, “Needs Attention” is a term that is meant to ask faculty to think about how a certain aspects of a department can be improved — increased enrollment for example. He also stated that he believes faculty was well-aware about the memo requesting their response, and that they have yet to hear any response from faculty. Suggestions were given to him as to more thoroughly explain to faculty the intent of the “Needs Attention” memo, and try engaging in actual conversation with faculty on the various points made. 

4) Dean Salinger expressed interest in creating an Ethnic Studies major & wants to engage further with students to hear if they support this idea or not. She believes that the University does not have the resources to create one entire school, but she is open to discussion with students as to how to move forward. When addressed, she acknowledged the structural issues hindering students from taking ethnic studies classes (due to the unfocused and broad Multicultural Education Requirement) and how students may be discouraged from majoring in any critical studies majors in the Humanities (due to the language requirement). We intend to schedule a follow-up meeting with her to further address all these points.

5) The University has sent us an official response, scanned and attached to this post.

Comparative Literature Expresses Solidarity with E.S.C.A.P.E.

Comparative Literature Expresses Solidarity with E.S.C.A.P.E.

FROM: Department of Comparative Literature UC Irvine
TO: Dean, School of Humanities 

January 31, 2012 

On January 27, 2012, E.S.C.A.P.E, a coalition of UCI undergraduate ethnic students, with support from several other ethnic studies groups at UCI, responded to the UCI administration “Needs Attention” memo (“‘Needs Attention’ Memo and The State of Ethnic Studies at UCI,”). The Department of Comparative Literature calls on UCI to respect and respond to this document, and to take it as a starting point for a meaningful engagement with the interdisciplinary departments and programs at UCI. 

The administration memo to which E.S.C.A.P.E responds listed several units in the School of Humanities that the administration considers “need attention”: African American Studies, Asian American Studies, Women’s Studies, Comparative Literature, East Asian Languages and Literatures, the Chicano/ Latino Studies Department in the School of Social Sciences, and the now-reorganized Department of European Languages and Studies. The “Needs Attention” memo criticizes the “low enrollments and low student-faculty ratios” in these programs and implies that their nature, existence, and level of support are being reconsidered. 

In its response E.S.C.A.P.E writes, “we feel that this is an attack on studies that are crucial to the development of critical consciousness among students and the UCI community.” The signatories single out “the meaningful impact these units offer students in areas of critical thinking, identity and cultural competency, understanding historical legacies and struggles … and the futures of our diverse communities.” They argue against evaluating the performance of units based on their size, rather than on their intellectual and pedagogical achievements, and call on the administration and the Academic Planning Group to work with the units and students to increase enrollments. 

The E.S.C.A.P.E response continues a history of student involvement in curricular reform at UCI. Significant curricular changes safeguarding or advancing interdisciplinary and critical studies have often been driven by students at moments of systemic crisis such as we are facing today. The African American Studies Department at UCI was created after student activism on behalf of underrepresented populations and fields of study in 1989, when UCI had a total of five black faculty on campus (less than 1% of the faculty). Stephanie Lopez, a member of Associated Graduate Students then, said: “They’ve got to start opening doors today, or we’re going to kick the doors down tomorrow” (“More Minority Students, Faculty Urged at UCI,” Los Angeles Times, April 11, 1989). Asian-American students went on a 35-day hunger strike to establish the Department of Asian-American Studies in 1993 (“UCI Needs an Asian-American Program,” May 24, 1993). Today’s student efforts represent a source of creative energy and will strengthen the units and the university. We call on the administration to continue support at UCI for cutting-edge interdisciplinary work that benefits the entire campus, and to respond with constructive engagement so that a time of crisis is not made an excuse to reverse decades of curricular and intellectual progress at UCI.

(Source: ucineedsattention.blogspot.com)

IN SOLIDARITY WITH THE ARIZONA FIGHT FOR ETHNIC STUDIES.
sparkamovement:

In solidarity with Ethnic Studies students and educators in Arizona, we’re joining FAAN Mail’s #WishiLearnedinHS campaign: 

As Arizona’s government moves forward to boldly protect a euro-centric education, we Americans across the country reflect on our own education. We recognize that Arizona’s law is part of a broader tradition that overlooks the accomplishments, perspectives and history of people of color, women and other marginalized groups.
Many of us have received an education that privileges the stories, ideas, history and perspectives of wealthy, western, white men. It is this tradition that creates a need for courses like Ethnic Studies, Mexican American Studies, Asian American Studies, African American Studies, Women’s Studies, Queer Studies, and many “others.” While we hope that Arizona and other states push to make classrooms and curricula truly inclusive, there is still a need to teach ALL students Ethnic Studiescourses that take a more in-depth look at marginalized histories, literature, and perspectives.
What happens when people know and understand their own and other’s history and oppression? The State of Arizona may be afraid of the answer to that question. But we must consider this as we reflect on the gaps in our education. The expression“I wish I learned that in high school” has political implications.
TAKE ACTION:
We are launching this effort on February 1, 2012 the day Arizona’s law becomes reality for the Tucson Unified School District, in support of their Mexican American Studies program. Join this effort by taking any number of the following actions in response to the question: What do you wish you learned in high school as it relates to various cultural identities, histories, and perspectives?
TAKE ACTION
Tweet with the hashtag: #WishediLearnedinHS about ___________________.
Respond to the question in your Facebook status
Write a blog post, Op Ed or Facebook note on this topic; ex. Five Things I wish I learned in HS
Add links to information about the gaps you identify.
Send your list to your high school officials/administrators. Inform them of the gaps.
Tweet: In Solidarity with #EthnicStudies Educators and students in #AZ, I join the #WishiLearnedinHS campaign http://bit.ly/Ax9qhS

IN SOLIDARITY WITH THE ARIZONA FIGHT FOR ETHNIC STUDIES.

sparkamovement:

In solidarity with Ethnic Studies students and educators in Arizona, we’re joining FAAN Mail’s #WishiLearnedinHS campaign

As Arizona’s government moves forward to boldly protect a euro-centric education, we Americans across the country reflect on our own education. We recognize that Arizona’s law is part of a broader tradition that overlooks the accomplishments, perspectives and history of people of color, women and other marginalized groups.

Many of us have received an education that privileges the stories, ideas, history and perspectives of wealthy, western, white men. It is this tradition that creates a need for courses like Ethnic Studies, Mexican American Studies, Asian American Studies, African American Studies, Women’s Studies, Queer Studies, and many “others.” While we hope that Arizona and other states push to make classrooms and curricula truly inclusive, there is still a need to teach ALL students Ethnic Studiescourses that take a more in-depth look at marginalized histories, literature, and perspectives.

What happens when people know and understand their own and other’s history and oppression? The State of Arizona may be afraid of the answer to that question. But we must consider this as we reflect on the gaps in our education. The expression“I wish I learned that in high school” has political implications.

TAKE ACTION:

We are launching this effort on February 1, 2012 the day Arizona’s law becomes reality for the Tucson Unified School District, in support of their Mexican American Studies program. Join this effort by taking any number of the following actions in response to the question: What do you wish you learned in high school as it relates to various cultural identities, histories, and perspectives?

TAKE ACTION

  • Tweet with the hashtag: #WishediLearnedinHS about ___________________.
  • Respond to the question in your Facebook status
  • Write a blog post, Op Ed or Facebook note on this topic; ex. Five Things I wish I learned in HS
  • Add links to information about the gaps you identify.
  • Send your list to your high school officials/administrators. Inform them of the gaps.
  • Tweet: In Solidarity with #EthnicStudies Educators and students in #AZ, I join the #WishiLearnedinHS campaign http://bit.ly/Ax9qhS

ON STRIKE makes an encapsulated, incisive study of the context and events that led up to the Ethnic Studies demonstrations, hunger strikes, and student arrests that surprisingly roiled the UC Berkeley campus in May 1999. Opening with a quick historical study of the struggle that established Ethnic Studies in the late sixties, this record of modern-day activism soon moves into the urgent present-time, detailing the nineties’ twLF (Third World Liberation Front) movement and their pitched battle against the university administration.

This link provides the original “Needs Attention” memo that was sent to the School of Humanities in November 2011 that UCI E.S.C.A.P.E. responded to. The memo was posted on the UCLeaks blog.

We encourage all people of conscience to widely disseminate this memo as well as our response in order to bring attention to the scapegoating of critical studies at UCI

[Important] “Needs Attention” Memo and The State of Ethnic Studies at UCI

To Whom It May Concern:

       We, the students, are greatly concerned with the “Needs Attention” Memo sent to the School of Humanities on November 15, 2011. This alarming memo addressed African American Studies, Asian American Studies, Women’s Studies, Comparative Literature, East Asian Languages and Literatures, French and Italian, and German, as well as the Chicana/o- Latina/o Studies Department in the School of Social Sciences. With this selection of targeting, we feel that this is an attack on studies that are crucial to the development of critical consciousness among students and the UCI community. 
       Disseminated through the School of Humanities, this memo undermines the scholarly distinction of these programs and criticizes faculty for failing to meet manufactured expectations and requirements, which remain conveniently unknown. These departments are targeted on the basis of “productivity” measured in terms of low student-to-faculty ratios, a characteristic that is usually regarded as essential to a quality education.  As a result, the seemingly arbitrary elimination of critical studies seems to stem from the broader context of systematically removing programs that do not benefit the corporate structure.

       We feel disturbed by the severe lack of methods used to determine of the “collective role and place” of many of these Interdisciplinary Programs [IDP] on our campus. If the writers of this memo had legitimately researched for qualitative evidence regarding the success of IDPs, they would find concrete evidence and stories of the meaningful impact these units offer students in areas of critical thinking, identity and cultural competency, understanding historical legacies and struggles, and the futures of our diverse communities. We believe there is no legitimacy in this memo’s ability to critique scholarly quality of these programs when the writers have proven no expertise in these fields.

       Not once does this memo provide meaningful solutions to the “low enrollments and low student-faculty ratios” it describes, other than making problematic allusions to consolidating these units.  Therefore, we see a disturbing contradiction in the fact that the memo labels these units as “Needs Attention”, without expressing any genuine concern or commitment; this reveals the austerity politics and damaging lack of institutional support from the University in this manufactured time of hardship.  We believe the members of the Academic Planning Group should engage in conversation with the IDP Department Chairs and students in order to discern what support the IDP units need, and how we can collectively create solutions to attract more students to these crucial majors.

        Much of the UCI community is uneducated about the Third World Liberation Front, comprised of students of the Civil Rights movement who recognized the exclusion of their histories and identities in their University curriculum.  Starting in 1968, students fought to institutionalize the representation of their narratives at San Francisco State College, in order to make their education more relevant and accessible for marginalized communities.  At UC Irvine, the original establishment of Ethnic Studies also started from the student’s struggle in the early 1990’s when many organizations built a coalition named the Ethnic Students Coalition Against Prejudicial Education (E.S.C.A.P.E.).  

       Despite the fight that has carried on throughout generations, it is evident that University systems insistently take advantage of budget crises to threaten the existence of Ethnic and Critical Studies first.  Still today, we will continue to fight against any ideologies that fail to prepare students with cultural competency and develop their critical consciousness, both of which are necessary in recognizing and fighting institutional injustices.  Therefore, we demand the writers of this memo to re-evaluate its ways of devaluing the School of Humanities and other IDP units, and to cease its actions in treating the University as an enterprise.


We demand the following: 

1) Stop the cuts and sustain Interdisciplinary Departments & Programs.
2) Reform the Multicultural general educational requirement to mandate all students to take at least two Women’s Studies, Queer Studies, or Ethnic Studies courses.
3) Establish and support a UCI School of Ethnic Studies and Critical Theory Studies. 

Signed, 
Ethnic Students Coalition Against Prejudicial Education (E.S.C.A.P.E)

Alyansa ng mga Kababayan

American Indian Student Association

Asian Pacific Student Association
 
ASUCI Office of the Executive Vice-President

Black Student Union

Black Educated Men

Central American Student Association

Ethiopian Student Association

Filipinos Unifying Scientist-Engineers in an Organized Network (FUSION)

Kababayan

Movimiento Estudiantil Chican@ de Aztlán 

Pilipino-Americans in Social Studies

Pilipino Pre-Health Undergraduate Student Organization

 

uciescape@gmail.com