Support the fight to save AAAS at Cal State LA
Cal State LA has long been an academic pioneer in supporting area and ethnic studies. Now this long history of celebrating the diversity of both the campus and the city it resides in is under attack. Threats of dismantling the undergraduate AAAS program come at a time when the need for understanding of an important ethnic community and a region of the world is growing.
Cutting AAAS is an attack on the university’s diversity and threatens the already tenuous support of CSULA's Chicano, Latin American, and Pan African Studies programs as well.
May 21, 2011
Hi All, Thank you for your many inquiries about the status of the Asian and Asian American Studies (AAAS) Program at Cal State LA. First of all, from the bottom of my heart, I want to thank all the students, faculty, and colleagues in Asian American Studies departments nationwide, as well as friends, family, and community members who have worked so hard to save the program from suspension. So many of you have been so extraordinarily supportive of Asian and Asian American Studies/Ethnic Studies and me personally, that I feel compelled to inform you of the latest developments.
Come be involved in a strategy meeting to Save and Advocate for AAAS at CSULA.
The Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council (A3PCON) wants to assist the students to keep the Asian and Asian American Studies program. A3PCON is an association of 40 community organizations and is concerned about the survival of AAAS. The organization is suggesting that we seek a meeting between a delegation of influential API leaders and the Dean and President of Cal State LA.
On Friday, February 18th @ 4PM, we will meet with the active students who are concerned about the future of the program at Cal State LA. . Our goal is to help the students strategize ways to build a larger AAAS constituency at Cal State LA, so please invite anyone who would like to support the AAAS program.
Location: Cal State LA University Student Union, Rm 206 (API Resource Center)
Time: 4 to 5:30pm
Address: 5151 State University Dr, Los Angeles 90032
Save Ethnic Studies, Inc.
Dear Colleagues and Supporters:
On January 1, 2011, HB 2281 became effective in Arizona, a law passed in April 2010 that attacks La Raza Studies. The law’s supporters claim that we are unpatriotic and unAmerican, a statement that we take great exception to. Books such as Occupied America and Pedagogy of the Oppressed are cited as proof of their opinions. At present the future looks grim. The Board of Education that was supposed to defend the program has bailed out. The teachers of Raza Studies have filed a suit defending the right of the program to teach the history of our people.
We feel that if the xenophobes are successful, the entire area of Ethnic Studies is threatened. It enables similar attacks on programs outside of Arizona and sanctions censorship. We feel that we must stand together and are appealing to you for support. It takes money to mount a legal challenge. The pool of available money is small in the Tucson area. It is a poor community and the hundreds of thousands of dollars that this suit will take is beyond our means.
The discovery process alone will run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. It is the political core of the case that will show the motivation of the framers of this legislation and point to who is financing this libelous campaign.
Please take time to view
1- http://vimeo.com/15062646 (Precious Knowledge Trailer)
2- http://www.saveethnicstudies.org/index.shtml (Tucson campaign)
Would you please help by sending a donation? You can also help arrange fundraisers in your area. We need transportation costs and would greatly appreciate honorariums. Concerts and the like featuring local artists, musicians and poets are a fantastic way of getting people together.
Please go online to donate and for more information:
Deyanina Nevarez is the point person. You can reach her at (520) 975-1485 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Make payable to: Save Ethnic Studies Defense Fund Mail to:
Save Ethnic Studies
307 S. Convent Ave
Tucson, AZ 85701
Or donate by Credit Card: http://www.saveethnicstudies.org/donate.shtml
Save Ethnic Studies Defense Committee
Save Ethnic Studies is filed with the Arizona Corporation
Commission as a non-profit corporation. We are seeking recognition of
exemption from the IRS under section 501 (c) 4. Contributions to Save Ethnic
Studies are non-tax deductible as a charitable contribution. Please contact
your tax advisor for further information. Printed In-House Labor Donated.
One of the many student chants that was heard on February 2, 2011. Return for more pictures.
Dear President Rosser and Dean Henderson,
I am writing on behalf of the executive board and officers of the Association for Asian American Studies to express our deep concern at your proposal to suspend the Asian American Studies Program at CSULA. For over thirty years, our national organization has had as its primary commitment the support of research, teaching, and service in Asian American Studies. Because of its location in the diverse and multiethnic community of Los Angeles and its commitment to excellence and innovation in public higher education, CSULA is in an ideal position to foster this field.
February 01, 2011
By Hansook Oh
California State University, Los Angeles will suspend their Asian and Asian American Studies program for the next three years despite its large Asian American population and protests from students, faculty and the greater Los Angeles community.
Putting a hold on this program now is myopic, detrimental to the quality of higher education and ultimately racist.
Once when I was in elementary school, I got into an argument with a classmate who would not believe that I was Korean because he had never heard of Korea. He accused me of lying and told me there was no such country. I told him to go find himself a stupid map (among other things).
Looking back, I don’t blame him for not knowing things he was never taught.
A 2009 U.S. Census Bureau report states Los Angeles County has the largest Asian American population in the entire country, representing nearly 15 percent of Angelenos, yet the history books used in the Los Angeles Unified School District don’t mention much about us.
The few things I learned, such as the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and the Japanese Internment during World War II, almost convinced me that Asian Americans are not welcome to participate in society.
Through the Asian American studies program here at CSUN I have learned about history and society from the perspective of the Asian American experience. I have access not only to a few pages, but books, films and discussions that have allowed me to participate in ways I could not have imagined before.
Unfortunately, some leaders in higher education do not understand the importance and relevance of ethnic studies to student success.
CSULA’s dean of the College of Natural and Social Sciences, James Henderson, proposed the freeze last November on the grounds that doing so will help the program grow—it has graduated only five majors and two minors since 2005 and currently has just 13 majors and eight minors. He announced the faculty should utilize the time to re-evaluate the program and could reapply when the suspension ends.
Henderson’s decision does not address the real cause of the program’s small numbers, which is severe lack of institutional support. According to AAAS director, Dr. Chorswang Ngin, the program was originally proposed in 1994 by 10 faculty members, but was met with apathy by the administration.
Ngin and her colleagues decided to pursue development of the program and taught the first ten courses pro bono. The only financial support the university offers is $4,000 per year so that Ngin can take one course off from teaching anthropology to run the program. They have so far relied on external grants to keep it going.
Low enrollment is due to CSULA’s General Education criteria that do not allow students to take AAAS courses to fulfill GE requirements. This discourages students from taking classes in the program and makes completing a degree more difficult for AAAS majors and minors.
How can a program be expected to thrive in popularity when it was never given sufficient tools in the first place? The solution proposed by Henderson will only reverse the progress it has made and impede the faculty from developing a better curriculum for students.
By not supporting the growth of the AAAS program, Henderson and his associates have expressed to the students and surrounding community that the Asian American experience is not significant enough to study. They show this disregard in an area with a high Asian American population and imply we are not as American as any other group. The real motivation for eliminating the program is more likely discrimination than academic concern.
Ten years later, I no longer worry about anyone questioning the existence of Korea. However, I suspect Dean Henderson needs convincing that my history, identity and participation in this country is real, worthy of study and not to be reserved for just a few pages.