Monday, October 22

Chancellor Young addresses students


Chancellor Young addresses students

Affirmative action, SAGE issues dominate question, answer
session

By Kimberly Mackesy

Students had an opportunity to address their grievances and have
their questions answered by Chancellor Charles Young in a open
forum held in Ackerman Grand Ballroom Wednesday.

Less than 40 people attended the forum, and Young commented that
students should not complain about his lack of accessibility since
the event was so well advertised and poorly attended.

Here are some highlights from his speech and the question and
answer session:

* Construction

Royce Quad will open completely before next fall, Young
said.

"The major continuing existing on-campus construction will be
Ackerman and Kerckhoff.

"(Powell Library) is essentially finished except for the main
reading room," he added. "We’re trying to find a way to open Powell
as quickly as possible in totality, but in the interim to get as
much of it open as possible."

* Fees

Young noted the series of hefty fee hikes over the last four
years, adding that a possible increase for next year will not be
determined until the budget is finished.

Young added that he thinks fees will continue to rise, with
richer students paying more to be returned in financial aid for
poorer students.

"In my opinion fees can and should go up, but they should go up
on a more reasonable rate than they have over the last few years,"
he said. "They went up in response to a budgetary crisis rather
than going up in response to a plan … I think it’s important for
people to be able to count on fee increases on a regular
basis."

* Affirmative action

Young’s stand on the controversial issue revolves around
providing more access to the university, he said. But he added that
extending access means changing society so that more
underrepresented and poor students will be eligible.

"I believe that, by and large, politicians in California and
politicians nationally are pandering to (the views of reverse
discrimination). They see this as a so-called ‘wedge issue’ that
they can use to drive between groups to their own political
advantage," he said. "I am prepared to speak out in opposition to
that kind of position and in support of affirmative action as it
has been practiced in the university."

Q&A:

Q: Chancellor Young, what do you plan to do to avoid a massive
strike which will happen in two weeks’ time unless you recognize
the Student Association of Graduate Employees? How do you plan to
avert a major disruption of the educational process that will occur
as a result of the strike? When will you recognize SAGE?

A: The university will recognize SAGE when it has gone through
the appropriate procedures that are required for recognition. When
PERB (Public Employment Relations’ Board) concludes that the
teaching assistants and others that seek to be represented are …
appropriate units for collective bargaining, then there will be an
opportunity for a vote.

And how do I hope to deal with the strike? I do not believe that
there will be a massive strike because I accept your views that you
do not want to harm education …

Those who leave the classroom and refuse to carry out their
duties to their students are the ones who are closing down the
classrooms. I don’t believe that a large number (will).

Q: I’ve noticed that in the past few years UCLA has slipped into
the 30s (of the U.S. News and World Report rankings). Is there any
way we might turn this around and is it of any concern?

A: It is a concern, but not a great one … We don’t believe
that there’s an awful lot that we can do about it because we don’t
believe that it’s based on any real, valid assessment of the
quality of the institutions …

Q: What is your position on ASUCLA’s financial loss and what
guidance is the administration providing them in this crisis?

A: Well, I’m very sorry to see the financial loss. I think we
are beginning … to understand what brought about the loss. Some
of the things were unavoidable, and some of the things were
avoidable. What we have to do, I think, is deal with the things
that were avoidable … and make it far less likely to occur in the
future. I think without some changes it would be likely to happen
in the future …

We’re working alongside them … We have developed a method of
operating which provides them the greatest possible independence.
And I want to maintain that greatest possible independence, and
therefore want them to solve this problem with the understanding,
and they have my assurance, that I will do anything I can to help
when I’m asked. If (they cannot solve it) then I will have to move
in and do something. I believe they are capable of solving it, and
are working hard to resolve it. Therefore, we’re keeping a very
close watch and providing any assistance we can to help them.

Q: You have spoken out in defense of affirmative action. Do you
recognize institutionalized racism and sexism, and if so, how will
you make yourself and your resources available to addressing those
needs?

A: Yes I do. I think there are things we do insofar as trying to
expand diversity within the university. I think we think we do go
beyond that … What we do to expand diversity largely has to be to
see to it that the numbers of students representing those
communities will continue to grow. We do a lot of other things
through research, through outreach programs that are intended to
improve the lives of all citizens … I’m especially happy with the
outreach programs.

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