AB540 Task Force update

Posted: December 7, 2010 in AB540

The following is an excerpt from a letter by Chancellor Katehi inviting students, grad students, and campus officials to serve on the AB540 Task Force which will begin as soon as winter quarter starts.   The official document was not uploaded in order to protect the identity of some of the individuals so that we can prevent any coercion, negative influence, intimidation, and to protect their safety as it is a touchy subject.  If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions please leave a comment or contact People of Color Unite! at peopleofcolorunite@gmail.com.

Begin excerpt:

“Dear Colleagues and Students,

I am writing to invite you to serve on a newly formed Task Force on AB540 Students which will focus on the needs of unauthorized immigrant students.  As you all know, undocumented students represent a highly vulnerable population at the University of California.  Given the recent increase in student fees and the lack of federal and state legislative movement on the DREAM Act, these students face unprecedented challenges as UC students.

Vice Chancellor Fred Wood and Assistant Vice Chancellor Griselda Castro will co-chair the Task Force.

I charge the group with three tasks:

1.  Identify the support service needs for undocumented students at UC Davis;

2.  Make recommendations on the resources and staff/peer training options needed to support undocumented students while navigating legal restrictions;

3.  Make recommendations on the best way to disseminate resource information to students.

Your work on this task force is extremely important to the success of this initiative and I thank you for undertaking this important task…………


Linda P.B. Katehi


End excerpt.

Remember that we all fought for this last Spring during the Ethnic and Gender Studies rallies so everyone should have a say in this.  So please write to us and let us know what’s up.  The venue for change for undocumented AB540 students has been set, now we need to ensure that the goals of last year’s movement are met.

P.S.  Check in after finals for an update on this quarter’s movement, where we’re all at, where we’re moving, and what has been accomplished and what hasn’t been met.  Also, bookmark this page and send out the link to EVERYONE!

We find ourselves in a time of change. The people creating these changes are the privileged few who forcefully implement unjust laws and policies to a misinformed majority.

It is unfortunate to say that we are being steered into the muddy waters of great injustice as seen through the student fee increases, the privatization of the university, the perpetual decline of student resources (as seen through furlough days, the financial aid office’s reduction of hours and the underfunded WRRC Library) and systematized racism that scapegoats the undocumented population in the form of such draconian laws as S.B. 1070 and H.B. 2281.

Students everywhere are taking the brunt. Even more so, undocumented students and people of color are finding themselves in restrictive financial situations. The system of higher education is forcing us to pay more for less; the students are being swindled from a just education.

The overwhelming and perpetual waves of unjust policies are taking a toll on the student body, and if nothing is done we are sure to keep experiencing this trend. Times like these require students to reclaim public spaces in order to encourage dialogue and create awareness. In the name of reclaiming student spaces we invite any and all students interested in learning and expressing their opinion on the current state of higher education to the Quad at noon today.

The current state of fee increases and unjust environment will continue and will only stop with student opposition. The student body has waited long enough for the administration and we know that we must take it upon ourselves to create a better university that works for the public, not the other way around. Find up-to-date information on current actions at the blog, peopleofcolorunite.wordpress.com, where we are currently working on revoking the current 8 percent fee increase.


Link of original post: http://theaggie.org/article/2010/11/18/letters-to-the-editor



Dear Students,
As you may or may not be aware, the UC Regents will decide on Wednesday November 17, 2010 if they will increase student tuition fees by 8%. While education costs are increasing, student resources are decreasing. For this reason, concerned students at UC Davis have gather together to demand administration at UC Davis to address the following list of demands. Furthermore, to make students aware of the demands, there will be a gathering on Thursday November 18, 2010. During this event there will be speakers and t-shirt silk-screening (please bring your t-shirt). Once again, these are the students’ demands:

1. No to the 8% increase

2. Fully fund the WRRC’s Joy Fergoda Library
-Due to lack of funding, the library will be shut down by the end of the school year

3. T.A. contracts must be extended permanently reflecting T.A.’s demands
[Update: T.A.’s and their union UAW have settled an agreement with the university]
-T.A.’s are in the process of renewing their contract. The T.A.s are demanding a fair pay and better benefits.

4. All outside corporations at UC Davis must fund full ride scholarships for AB540 students in order to operate on campus.
-UC Davis allows for big corporations to come onto campus and make billions of dollars off of students. AB 540 students are hurt the most during these tuition fee increases because they must fully fund their education without financial aid and without being able to “legally” work. This demand requires for these on-campus corporations to have to fund AB 540 scholarships as a requirement to be on-campus.

5. Financial Aid Office (Front Desk) must be open from 9-5pm, Monday- Friday, for student support services. In addition, the phone call cap must be eliminated.
-Currently the Financial Aid Office is open from 10-2pm M-F and could only answer 200 calls per day. The Financial Aid Office must service the students during normal university hours to ensure that finances are not an obstacle to students’ education.

6. Have University and City of Davis officials review leasing contract policies that conflict with financial aid distribution.
-Students are expected to pay rent on September 1st regardless of their financial situation. We are asking for administration to work with the City of Davis to create a housing contract policy that will allow students to not have to pay rent until financial aid has been distributed.

7. Have UC Davis officials pressure the UC Regents to appoint a peer elected student representative per campus to be a voting member of the UC Regents.
-Currently there is only one UC student representative for the entire UC system while the majority of the other 18 Regent members are CEOs of major corporations which are one of the reasoning for the privatization of the UC system. We need more student representation in a system of education where the interests of the students are met and not the interest of the people running the UC system.


People of Color Unite

Letter to UC Davis Administration

Posted: November 17, 2010 in Uncategorized

To University of California, Davis administration,

This letter is in regards to your consistent failure to fully support UC Davis students both on campus and at the UC Regents table. Last year was a year of constant struggle between students and administration due to the administration caring more about your salaries and bonuses and caring less about affordable education for each and every student at UC Davis. One of the solutions on the administration’s side was to work with the state and the Regents in order to provide students with an affordable education, but that false promise is another reason why we cannot take this anymore. As if a 32% fee increase were not enough, the UC Regents are proposing an additional 8% fee increase UC-wide. Furthermore, injustices are occurring every day at the UC Davis campus and we demand that the administration listen to our concerns and that progress be made in order to fully provide each UC Davis student a quality education that we deserve.

As a result of failure of the UC Davis and UC system administration to provide students with an affordable education, a list of demands has been created and a rally has been scheduled for Tuesday, November 16 at 12PM in the Quad with the goal of raising the awareness and consciousness of the greater student body to the threats perpetrated by current UC Davis and UC system to the students on this campus. We expect that you will join us at our rally to schedule a meeting with Chancellor Katehi and other UC Davis administrators to discuss our demands pertaining to our campus and to vow to stand up for students and advocate for us at the upcoming Regents meeting on the following day. Please be advised that the failure of university administration to schedule a meeting will result in further action. The following are the list of demands that we expect you all to follow through on immediately.


*No to the 8% increase
*Fully fund WRRC- Save the Joy Fergoda Library
*Negotiate fair TA contracts
*All outside corporations at UC Davis must fund full ride scholarships for AB540 students in order to operate on campus.
*Financial Aid Office (Front Desk) must be open from 9-5pm, Monday- Friday, for student support services.n addition, the phone call cap must be eliminated.
*Have University and City of Davis officials review leasing contract policies that conflict with financial aid distribution.
*Have UC Davis officials pressure the UC Regents to appoint a peer elected student representative per campus to be a voting member of the UC Regents.


People of Color Unite

Hello everyone,

Today we had a meeting with Fred Wood and Griselda Castro on the topic of creating a Task Force to address AB540 issues on campus.  The student attendees included Nayelli Casarrubias (SPEAK), Andrea Delgadillo, Marisol Ornelas, Sebastian Zuniga, as well as Raul Navarro.  It was a preliminary meeting, but Fred Wood and Griselda Castro had been looking into the different possibilities for providing services for our AB540 comrades.  The task force will address the issues that AB540 students face on campus and will work to fix them.  The discussion included the strong possibility of an AB540 Resource Center which besides providing needed resources such as financial aid and scholarship information, could possibly include student internship opportunities, a CAN advisor, a GSR (grad student researcher), etc.  The topic of where this center could be located was also discussed and left as options.  We see great progress as we move forward and we wish to create the best experience for students as possible.

Milmon Harrison,

We, the student activists who have been fighting for Ethnic and Gender Studies units since day one, have read your response to the minutes sent out by Professor Adela de la Torre.  We would like to respond to your words as well as provide a clarification of the students’ perspective on this whole issue.

1.  It is our understanding that  originally there would only be two new FTEs in total that were allocated to Asian American Studies and Chicana/o Studies, one to each department, this being independent of the student’s initiative for Dean Owens.  Had the students not engaged in activism, sent out a list of demands to Chancellor Katehi and Dean Owens, and received a commitment on behalf of the Chancellor to reexamine the needs of ALL the Ethnic and Women & Gender Studies units, that meeting would never have happened. No one else would have had the opportunity to discuss the proposal sent out by Dean Owens, as there would not have been one at all. Any department or program that does not understand this has a lot of thinking to do.

“ we in AAAS do not intend to stand by while other E.S. units paint a picture (especially for students) depicting themselves as unfairly targeted/neglected and also depicting us as either unscathed or somehow favored and therefore having less of a need than they do.”

This particular group of students has been involved in this process since before the first town hall meeting took place and we can tell you that none of the Ethnic and/or Women & Gender Studies units have painted a picture for us such as what you claim. Rather we understand that you told your students that your department was “ok” and “unscathed” without explaining to your students why you felt that way.

“I think we need to own that and be honest about it, again especially when/if we talk to students about these issues.”

Here, you single out some of the other Ethnic Studies units for having made “bad decisions” (i.e. their hiring process).  It seems as though you are condemning other departments for hiring older FTEs when in many cases these older FTEs would provide a richer experience to us as students.  We believe that hiring should be done based on merits, based on what a person can contribute to the department, and not because of their age and how long they will last.  Having that said, it is up to you to decide whether you keep this policy or not. However, we urge you not to single out other Ethnic and/or Women & Gender Studies units for hiring FTEs on merits other than age, particularly when this practice can be misconstrued as going against laws which condemn discriminatory hiring practices.

2.  No one is saying that any particular department or program does not deserve additional resources.  The students started all of this as an Ethnic and Women & Gender Studies battle for additional resources.  Regardless of who said what at the town hall meeting, we moved forward advocating for all Ethnic and Women & Gender Studies departments and programs because we felt that they have all been negatively affected over the years and recognize the importance and the need to retain said departments and programs here at UC Davis.

“We have the fewest number of FTEs (either actual or promised) than all the other HIP units although we are virtually always among the highest producers of SCHs, for example.”

We feel that you should consider revising your information or provide actual evidence to support your claim. The data we have shows that AAAS virtually has the same number of FTEs as the other departments at the moment and is not among highest producers of SCHs in Hart Hall.

“Why should a legacy of under-funding of AAAS be allowed to keep us from reaching the same status as the rest of the Ethnic Studies units because we haven’t lost FTEs in recent years to retirements, retention or other issues that don’t apply to us?”

We do not seek to continue any legacy placed on AAAS.  It would seem that you are equating others (students and/or other departments), unintentionally or not, with the forces that have kept AAAS under-funded. That is patently not correct. We are simply students that are trying our best to ensure that future generations have the same opportunities that we have had of being able to have a supportive and enriching education through these programs; to be accused of continuing a legacy that has kept the program down is unfair and misguided since that is exactly what our demands aim to work against.  We feel that the above statement is creating a divisive attitude within our movement that is counterproductive as it is creating an unsafe environment for all parties involved.  A divide and conquer attitude is precisely what the administration wants and we as students will not give in to that.  Remember, the students are the ones that provided the departments/programs the opportunity to voice their concerns and we feel that your statement implies that we are the ones that are continuing these legacies of marginalization.

3.  We, the students that have been sitting at the table with Chancellor Katehi, Dean Owens, and the Directors of the Ethnic Studies departments/programs, have not heard or have been influenced by this notion you claim to know that pits the other three Ethnic Studies departments against AAAS. No department has, in any way, made any kind effort to show that they are more desperate for or deserving of resources by comparing their situation to the situation in AAAS.  Let it be known that no faculty or staff member caused the students to begin this movement.  We are not under the commands of anyone.  We are not blind to see what is going on in Hart Hall and we are smart enough, as university students, to think for ourselves and take action accordingly.  The fact that many of us sitting around the table identify as Chicana/o and/or Native is besides the point. We are student activists that are being negatively affected by the changes and cuts just like many of our peers, who may happen to be of different ethnicities and/or identities.  Everyone was given a chance to be a part of the movement. If some students within the AAAS community are being told by faculty that their departments are doing “ok” and as a result do not join our movement, this is not our fault.

Also, you claim that other faculty and staff have been saying that your department is being “favored”, but we have yet to hear that.  Maybe this is a self-conscious thought as you yourself stated, in a sense, that African and African American Studies was on the sidelines sitting this out.  This comment established the sense of “free riding”, because what we get from your response is that the students’ activism is creating a wrong narrative and you will not take a part in that, but in the end when the students won the opportunity to discuss a proposal, you were the first to have an aggressive attitude as to who should get what.  We feel that you pit the others against your program in your response, and pretty much “spanked” the students for their activist work because you believe it is creating the wrong narrative.  Also, it is unfortunate that in order to prove your point, you dug out and circulated an old email  by a student leader who sought to better the conditions of his department and only highlighted the line which read: “One of my main platform goals as a Senator is to address the FTE positions that have not been restored to Chicana/o Studies.” While doing this, however, you failed to also highlight the student’s next line:

However, due to the increasingly disturbing cuts and moves that are taking place in Hart Hall, I wanted to extend this to the other Ethnic Studies.”

This essentially states our main goal: to include all the departments and programs as we move to the top.  The way in which you went about calling out this student seems very divisive.

4.  Again, we do not want to continue the divisive nature of this discussion.  Whether or not we as students benefit from the Dean’s proposal, we are all going to have to work together to make positive changes happen for our units. We hope that this is just one person’s response, but we would like to point out that by being the AAAS Chair you represent your whole unit and in essence your entire community.
Having said that, we, the students, believe we deserve an apology.  From our analysis of your response, it seems as if though we are being reprimanded for our work.  Whether you believe that we, as student activists, carried out our work  correctly or incorrectly is perhaps less important than the fact that you are ultimately benefiting from the hard work and dedication it took to get all of the departments/programs to this point. To us, it seems very ungrateful to criticize those that have helped put you on the path to receive additional FTEs when originally you wouldn’t have received any. Rather than reprimanding us, you should attempt to work with us and truly realize what students’ needs are, both in and out of your specific program.  We do hope to move forward, together, in order to better provide for our communities so the door is open for further discussion and you may reach us at peopleofcolorunite@gmail.com

Thank you.

Here are some notes from our meeting with Dean Owens and Ethnic and Gender Studies faculty.  Also, it includes a response from Director Milmon Harrison, of AAAS, that y’all should examine carefully.  The minutes were edited by Adela de la Torre, Wendy Ho, and Inez Hernandez-Avila.  The response if just from Milmon Harrison.


”  Dear All

The Town Hall, which was not really a town hall since not all members of the staff were invited. Unfortunately, the SAOs were excluded as well as Griselda Castro. However, other staff were invited , Karen MSO Hart, Ian- associate dean HArCS, and the Veronice Passalacqua, Curator of the Gorman Museum, and Cris Brevick the social sciences dean office student advisor.
Faculty present included- NAS- Haleah, Ines, Steven Crumm, Martha, Stefano
African American Studies- Milmon and Halifu Osumare
Asian American STudies- Wendy Ho
American Studies- Carolyn de la Pena
Women Studies- Maxine Craig, Kimberly Nettles
Dean Owens
Students included- 1 grad student NAS, 1 NAS community member, about 2-3 other NAS Students
From original student activist group-Tiffany Martinez, Sebastian Zuniga, Raul Navarro, and Jessica Alvarez
1- Asian American student
Dean Owens opened with a discussion of the space and FTE issue in general terms– she did not directly speak to her plan about specific FTE for the units.
She indicated that space would be discussed with Jess or Jeff Lacov ? ( Griselda knows who this is) and there would be a space analysis. She hopes to get the computer space town stairs and additional space in Hart Hall. NAS student raised issue about student space. The Dean alluded to the new building that would be built next door to Hart to accommodate some students and faculty. [W:  Concerns were also raised that there was need for more faculty and departmental space for TAs for example.]
NO commitments were made [except] that we would be involved in the planning process
Discussion continued concerning the reorg plan. All the directors as well as members in the audience agreed that ethnic studies students[W: this would also apply to Women and Gender Studies concerns] need to have a “face” present that reflects them. Concern was raised from American and Women studies staff that they will not have staff to serve their needs. The issue of a separate [W: an advisor] for women’s studies was raised. There was some debate on whether the reorg would be permanent or not. [W:  There was mention of a review or assessment in a timely manner as to whether the reorg is working or not in order to make decisions on what structure actually works.]  Karen was willing to be flexible on this. But there was concern that the front office consolidation could cause confusion and distress from some members. Wendy highlighted the workload issue for the AAS staff that they would now be working over 100%.  Steffano highlighted this as well in terms of their class and work load  position and implications for the units.
The students raised concern about the process issue. They were concerned that they were be contacted AFTER the Dean had started the process of allocating space and FTE. This was not the agreed process based on the minutes of the meeting with the Chancellor
The Dean responded defensively that she had met with the Directors and implied that we were moving forward. I  disagreed at this point  with the Dean and indicated that the CS faculty did not agree with the FTE allocation as stated or the process so far.  I also indicated that she had not responded to the letter we sent regarding  our proposal for the 10 FTE. I also recommended that we need to have an organic process that includes the students and faculty. I also indicated that based on the meetings from the Chancellor that I felt each department should meet with their students and develop a plan that represents their unique interests. A faculty member in African American Studies suggested that we have 1 student per group. But the Dean supported my assertion that each department is culturally unique and we should move within the context of each department’s culture. I also highlighted the need for complete transparency.
Milmon indicated that African American Studies is better off with FTE allocations because they strategically decided to hire young faculty so they will not have retirements ( implying that the other units are in bad shape because we have faculty retiring)–Milmon please check this, is this what you meant?
He indicated that there is a narrative out there about this, and I said I have never heard this narrative. He is concerned that they may not get additional FTE because they had a better plan than the others who have older faculty who will be  retiring.
It was our understanding that over the summer our plans would be developed organically at the unit level. We also will work on our own metrics to defend our rationalization for FTE and space. For the CS faculty, I will ask Letty when she returns, to schedule meetings over the summer so we can meet with students, faculty, Griselda, and Alma  to determine our needs and interests and present these to the Dean, the Provost and the Chancellor
Other issues that surfaced were the following;
Carolyn Maxine] suggested that we should be allowed to hire president’s post docs—the dean responded that this is not possible since there will be no future FTEs for these hires and that HArCS needs to reduce FTE by 2012 and they are struggling to do this right now.
She also suggested the need for queer /sexuality studies faculty- Wendy indicated that this may occur in ASA]  and she will follow up with Nolan [W: I have asked him about this query as of 7/2/10.]
In general, we agreed that the next process is to work over the summer with our groups to develop our respective plans and have these complete by Oct 1 if possible. “

Milmon’s Response to the Notes:

Response to 6/30 Town Hall Meeting Notes:  Milmon F. Harrison (AAAS Program)

No, Adela, this is not exactly what I meant.  Let me explain in more detail below:

1. Although my concerns were expressed at the table on Wednesday primarily in terms of retirements, I should have spoken more clearly in terms of a broader range of FTE-related issues, including strategic hiring choices, retention of faculty, and mentoring to advancement up through the ranks of junior and mid-level faculty over the past decade.   The internal politics of other Ethnic Studies (E.S.) units is none of our concern in AAAS; however, now that we’re all attempting to garner much-needed resources and recoup losses in light of the current economic threats we all face, we in AAAS do not intend to stand by while other E.S. units paint a picture (especially for students) depicting themselves as unfairly targeted/neglected and also depicting us as either unscathed or somehow favored and therefore having less of a need than they do.  So what I meant to convey was that as far as FTEs go all of us in E.S. are where we are now at least partly as a result of the decisions we have made over the past decade with respect to the hiring, the retention, and the advancement of our faculty.  I think we need to own that and be honest about it, again especially when/if we talk to students about these issues.

2.  Our concern is that because AAAS has not experienced the FTE losses as other Ethnic Studies units during the past few years we may not appear to have a need in terms of FTE replacements (including, but certainly not exclusively, due to retirements).  The harsh reality informing my position on this issue is the fact that AAAS, as the fourth of the E.S. units in Hart, remains the most under-resourced and, most importantly, is still the only one that is not a department.  Our students expressed their own displeasure about this state of affairs in no uncertain terms.  We have the fewest number of FTEs (either actual or promised) than all the other HIP units although we are virtually always among the highest producers of SCHs, for example.  At this critical moment we most definitely need additional FTEs as we continue to move toward submitting our own proposal for departmental status.  We need those additional FTEs now to ensure we make the strongest possible argument on behalf of our Program and our students.  Why should a legacy of under-funding of AAAS be allowed to keep us from reaching the same status as the rest of the Ethnic Studies units because we haven’t lost FTEs in recent years to retirements, retention or other issues that don’t apply to us?  That’s what I’m fighting for in these meetings.

3.  As far as that “narrative” goes, I have personally witnessed faculty and staff (including SAOs—who we all know are a critical source of program/departmental information to students) explaining the current Hart Hall situation to students in a way that made it seem as though their departments’ FTE losses over the past few years were somehow more critical than our already lower FTE numbers in AAAS—or, even worse, that certain units were “favored” by the Dean and have not had their FTEs reduced as a result of that favor.  What irritates me most about this reading of the situation is the fact that despite their very real losses all three of the other three E.S. units still have more resources than we do in AAAS (in FTE and also, very importantly for the re-org discussions to come, in space and staff).  The emails below provide a tiny example of what I’m referring to, with a Chair leaving it to an SAO to provide students information about, in this case, FTE losses that, at least to my mind and others’ of my faculty, feeds the students’ existing perception of an “attack” on these particular Ethnic Studies programs and not on others.  A student at the first Town Hall was under the mistaken impression that AAAS had received $100K from the Chancellor, which is absolutely false (and the real details of that money were actually published in The Aggie); thank God I was one of the few faculty there to correct that untruth!  Perception is everything right now in my mind as we all struggle to get what we need and think we deserve.  This is partly what I mean about the way certain narratives about these issues are being constructed in what I believe are self-serving and irresponsible ways.  The fact is that we are all already suffering and are all being asked to give up something more.  One problem in the midst of all this, though, is that some of us have more to begin with than do others of us, and I think it would be great if we could all bear that in mind as we try to work together in the coming months/years.

[Copied and pasted from 2 emails I received:

On 5/6/10 4:39 PM, My Diem Nguyen wrote:

hi abrham,

here is what Nolan Zane, chair of ASA, would like to share on behalf of the department of asian american studies:

My Diem:

Yes, inform him about the FTE losses in ASA in just the last 2 years:  1.0 FTE loss due to Prof. Parrenas leaving; .50 FTE loss due to Prof. Bill Hing transferring his .50 FTE to Law and then subsequent retirement; and .50 FTE loss due to Prof. Stan Sue’s retirement.

That’s a total of 2.0 FTE loss in a faculty of only 8.0 FTE as of 2 years ago. In other words, a reduction of 25% in ASA faculty FTE in just 2 years .


On Thu, May 6, 2010 at 1:49 PM, Abrham Castillo-Ruiz wrote:

Hi there!

My name is Abrham Castillo-Ruiz, and I am an ASUCD Senator.  One of my main platform goals as a Senator is to address the FTE positions that have not been restored to Chicana/o Studies.  However, due to the increasingly disturbing cuts and moves that are taking place in Hart Hall, I wanted to extend this to the other Ethnic Studies.

I am meeting with Dean Owens this Monday (May 10th) 2pm, and I would like to know if there is anything that any of you would like to bring up specifically relating to your respective Department.  Please let me know as soon as possible if there is any way I can help; an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us.  I hope to hear from you soon.”


A student response was issued to Director Milmon Harrison, which is in the following post.