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Racism In the UCSC Institution

Statistically, 81% of EAOP students who entered the UC system were still continuing their education after 3 years (eaop.org). So, why is the state legislature trying to gradually diminish programs like this one and raise tuition at the same time?
Education is about exploring differences, opportunities and choices. Yet, why are we restricting people from getting ahead by putting up systemic barriers that are impassable by some because of the color of their skin? This is known as “institutionalized racism� and it is deeply rooted in our nation, but it seems as though it is completely invisible to the elite.

Institutionalized racism is profoundly ingrained in our system, which makes it much harder to undo the wrong that has been embedded into our notion of what is right. Is it right that a lot of the California secondary education schools are under-funded? Only private or public schools in more exclusive urban areas or suburbs have all the resources it takes to help students prepare for a higher education. This type of racism denies people of color equal access to basic areas of daily life such as services, opportunities and education. This is why outreach programs were implemented.

Outreach programs have been shown to be both successful and useful in terms of helping underrepresented students go to college. For example, the most widely known one is called Early Academic Outreach Program (EAOP), which came into existence in response to a study that identified barriers and recommended solutions to the problems educationally disadvantaged students faced in admission to the University of California. The 1975 study identified that barriers to post-secondary education existed for minority students such as Native-Americans, African Americans, Chicanos and Latinos as well as low-income students. Statistically, 81% of EAOP students who entered the UC system were still continuing their education after 3 years (eaop.org). So, why is the state legislature trying to gradually diminish programs like this one and raise tuition at the same time?

In early 2004, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger issued a controversial budget for 2004-2005, which consisted of $372 million dollars worth of cuts for the UC system. His proposed cuts have reduced student enrollments, raised student fees, scaled back student financial aid, reduced spending on faculty, dwindled K-12 outreach, and made deeper cuts to research, administration, and other programs. However, just recently he put out the 2005-2006 budget proposal for the UC system, which offers an increase in state funding for the UC after four years of significant cuts. This provides the UC with some budget stability, but it withdraws $17 million in state support that was part of the Governor and UC’s compact agreement over the summer, which asked the UC to take cuts in either enrollment or K-12 academic preparation (www.universityofcalifornia.edu). Regardless, this is going to have an immense impact on minority students.

The Student Union Assembly (SUA) is tackling this issue by going to the UC Student Association Annual Lobby Conference at UC Davis and Sacramento. They are going to lobby against fee increases, for more financial aid and money for outreach programs and for increases in admissions and eligibility. They are fighting for the equal rights of minority students who are presently being excluded in the current budget proposal. Is it smart to eliminate programs that are helpful and have shown great outcomes for students who are highly capable of a college education, but do not have access to the same resources in high school as others do?

Honestly, one person can make a difference, especially if everyone is working toward the same goal. The SUA is showing many people that these budget proposals are not fair by voicing their opinions to state legislators from February 4 through 7 of 2005. Aside from lobbying at the conference, the SUA will continue the fight for prioritization of education and the state budget. If you are interested in helping please contact Paulina Raygoza (lina_sua0405@hotmail.com) for more information. It is going to take a lot of effort and time to rid this society of the gates that hold a lot of competent people back in their search for success, but deep wounds need a lot of help and attention in order to heal, and taking small steps such as confronting the unfair issues and voicing concern is really essential in helping to make things right. Everyone (no matter your skin color or socio-economic class) should care about this matter and it is up to the UC community to band together and fight against the socio-economic injustices that are plaguing our higher education. Don’t just sit around, take an example from the SUA and resist it!
 
 


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