Regents’ vote threatens future of AAP; minority students will suffer
By Daily Bruin Staff
November 29, 2009 9:55 pm
SUBMITTED BY: Charles J. Alexander
The taking over and shutting down of Campbell Hall on November 19 came as a surprise to most students on campus since it is home to a number of programs that provide academic support and serve as an academic home for low-income students and students of color.
This includes the Academic Advancement Program which was forced to suspend all services on that day.
However, the occupation was part of a larger plan of solidarity with protesters who were occupying buildings on other UC campuses to protest the 32 percent tuition increase voted on by the University of California Board of Regents.
This increase will have an adverse affect on low-income and first-generation students, many of whom use AAP services.
We find the Regents’ action appalling and shameful, and we view it as part of a larger problem brought on by the state of California’s lack of support for public education.
This lack of support has placed the university in a precarious position whereby it must restructure itself, reduce services to students, and reduce the number of students that it admits.
Chancellor Block warned the UC Regents that efforts to continue to increase the number of black and Latino students will be made more difficult with reductions in enrollment and student support.
Reductions in admitted students will also decrease the number of low-income and underrepresented students.
Students already face a number of challenges from impacted classrooms to a reduction in the number of resources to help finance their education.
The fee increases will further discourage low-income families from applying to the UC, families already facing the brunt of the national economic crisis. AB 540 students will also be forced to withdraw from UCLA and delay their educational plans.
In addition to our grave concerns about the fee increases, we, the students and staff in the Academic Advancement Program, are very concerned about future budget reductions and their effects on the program.
We have already taken large cuts for the 2009-2010 academic year which has led to a significant reduction in services for the program’s students.
If it is to remain a truly great institution, the university must provide students with the support they need to excel at UCLA.
We must do all we can to make our lawmakers in Sacramento understand how important the university and its students are to the economic recovery of the state.
Our state, along with the nation, is losing its competitiveness because we are not adequately investing in human capital. We must do more to rescue and improve public education in California.
Alexander is associate vice provost for student diversity and director of the Academic Advancement Program.