Campus action over pressure against ethnic studies

Across the CSU, ethnic studies programs and departments are facing various forms of cutbacks, through purposeful underfunding and/or consolidations into other programs and departments.

These developments reportedly are at various stages across the CSU system.

Ethnic studies faces an uncertain future at CSU Stanislaus as two tenure-track faculty plan to leave and the campus administration plans not to replace them.  The CFA Assembly adopted a resolution supporting ethnic studies at Stanislaus.

At San José State, the conflict over African American Studies is coming to a head just as the campus is celebrating Legacy Week, an annual event marking the campus’s history of social justice. This year’s event is keynoted by renowned University of California professor and San José alumnus Harry Edwards.

In 1968, Edwards’ organization, the Olympic Project for Human Rights, helped spark the famous Olympic protest against racial injustice led by African-American SJSU track stars Tommie Smith and John Carlos, which is now memorialized in a huge, iconic statue on the San Jose campus.

Ironically, in recent years the African American Studies Department has been underfunded, and faculty report the administration’s intent is to eliminate its departmental status altogether and merge it into another department. Students for Quality Education spoke out about African American Studies at a rally today.

CFA President Lillian Taiz and Cecil Canton, chair of the CFA Council for Affirmative Action, wrote a letter protesting these developments to campus presidents last month.