Going Hungry for Ethnic Studies

Going Hungry for Ethnic Studies

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 BERKELEY, Calif.—Hungry students and their supporters sit for the seventh day in front of University of California at Berkeley’s California Hall, after a futile meeting with University Chancellor Robert Birgeneau. The students asked Birgeneau yesterday to reinstate fired ethnic-studies staff members.

“We're still here, we're still fighting and basically, we're not going anywhere," said a weary-looking, third-year Native American studies major, Zoila Lara-Cea.

They are protesting cuts resulting from a comprehensive audit of university operations conducted by the consulting firm Bain and Company. The auditors recommended trimming two-and-a-half staff positions from the Ethnic Studies Department.

Even though cuts are distributed university-wide, “people of color are targeted first,” asserted third-year ethnic studies student Edward Rivero.

“This institution is very white-dominated,” added Luzilda Carrillo, a fifth-year student majoring in integrative biology and anthropology.

Over the years, students and faculty in the ethnic studies department have grown accustomed to protesting. Present at the current demonstration were several professors, who had advocated for the department’s creation in the late 1960s.

As a UC student, Harvey Dong, now an ethnic studies lecturer, participated in the 1969 Third World Liberation Front, a movement that lead to the creation of the department, which became a model for similar programs nationwide.

At the time, Dong and fellow students sought the creation of an entire Third World College devoted to the study of marginalized groups, but settled for a department.

Professor Emeritus Carlos Muños, also present at the protest, benefited from Dong’s actions and became the first chair of Chicano Studies at California State University, Los Angeles.

Spearheading this new field, Muños and Dong recalled their responsibility to respond to a basic gap in college curriculums.

A Mexican American, Muños said he remembers “being a graduate student and not being able to find books on ourselves.” He added, “At that time we were an invisible people in this country.”

While ethnic studies have since matured, Muños said students must continue to fight for the survival of the field.

“We have to go out of our way to legitimize ourselves,” he said. “Students have had to struggle on our behalf.”

At UC Berkeley, cuts will mean reduced office hours and unanswered phones. The history and psychology departments face similar cuts.

However, Carleen Sanchez, vice president of the National Association for Ethnic Studies, said that the protest represents a broader cause.

“Ethnic studies are under assault,” she stated in a phone interview.

“Administrators do not recognize the importance of ethnic studies,” Sanchez continued. “Given our origins in civil rights, I think that that type of direct action and individual sacrifice is part of our history.” She emphasized, “A hunger strike is not silly.”

Sanchez cited a law signed last May by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer that bans classes “designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group,” or which “advocate ethnic solidarity instead of treatment of pupils as individuals from K-12 classrooms.”

At Berkeley, though, protesters may have to remain patient. Claire Buss, two-time hunger striker who hadn’t eaten in 176 hours when interviewed for this story said she can wait.

“I’m feeling great,” she said. “I could go forever.”

The students plan to continue their protest throughout this week.
 

Comments

 
Anonymous

Posted May 4 2011

The students are also hunger-striking on behalf of the African American Studies and Gender and Women's Studies departments. All three departments have suffered job cuts, and are standing united in their support of the striking students. The Ethnic Studies department has even opened up its "family meetings" to the other departments.

Anonymous

Posted May 5 2011

It's so true. Ethnic Studies and GWS are always the first ones to be met with major blows.. and these two departments have already suffered enormous cutbacks not too long ago. I see so many protests and strikes on campus, that I've seriously become desensitized to them. They aren't silly, but I'm beginning to wonder how effective they really are. They may bring awareness to the issue, but what I've learned is that most students just free-ride on other people's efforts, myself included. Good luck.

Anonymous

Posted May 5 2011

Anonoymous

Hope they starve

Anonymous

Posted May 5 2011

Oh Jesus christ! Time to grow people! sheesh!
So pathetic it's not even funny.

Anonymous

Posted May 5 2011

This is America screw your sub culture, I don't see people crying about Italian studies or Iris studies, I hope they get as skinny as some actual African people and have flies land on their head.

Anonymous

Posted May 5 2011

Students did a similar "hunger strike" when I was a freshman at UCSB. First of all, it's not a real hunger strike. In a real hunger strike, you ingest ZERO calories. In other words, it's slow suicide. In American college-kid hunger strikes, you just don't eat solid food. You can drink as many high-calorie liquids as you want. This might make you a little less healthy, but it won't kill you. This is lame.

Go ahead. Drown yourselves in Gatorade. Nobody cares.

Anonymous

Posted May 5 2011

there are many things to endanger one's life for - I wouldn't put this on that list...what statement does this actually make to the world at large? "Oh, there go those indulged UC students again, wasting the energy of their youth on a tiny, local issue, when they could actually...hmmm...go out and do something..."

Anonymous

Posted May 5 2011

j

Anonymous

Posted May 5 2011

" Ethnic Studies and GWS are always the first ones to be met with major blows"

Any rightly so. Complete waste of space, hot air, and my money. Creates nothing. People are finally coming to their senses. Close the whole department, chalk it up to yet another dumb idea left over from the 60's. The hippie's heyday is over, time to start repairing the damage.

Anonymous

Posted May 5 2011

" Ethnic Studies and GWS are always the first ones to be met with major blows"

Any rightly so. Complete waste of space, hot air, and my money. Creates nothing. People are finally coming to their senses. Close the whole department, chalk it up to yet another dumb idea left over from the 60's. The hippie's heyday is over, time to start repairing the damage.

Anonymous

Posted May 5 2011

Arizona Chican@ Community is with you!! Hang in there ...Sending positive thoughts and prayers your way.

Tlazocamati
Marisol

Anonymous

Posted May 5 2011

Let them starve

Anonymous

Posted May 5 2011

STFU chumps. UC Berkeley is not white dominated. It is dominated by rich, docile Asians who will pay top dollar out of state rates without a complaint. Go take your cause to Wal Mart idiots.

Anonymous

Posted May 5 2011

adfgh

Anonymous

Posted May 5 2011

Ethnic studies and women's/gender studies are basically an opportunity for a small group of students to navel-gaze. Students get to sit around and complain about how the US is white-dominated, or patriarchy-dominated, or straight-dominated. There's little intellectual content. I can't think of a single Ethnic Studies grad (or any in the other fields) who has made the slightest positive impact on contemporary life.

Anonymous

Posted May 5 2011

Who really cares about these programs? In the bigger picture, they will NOT help the USA to maintain global competitive advantages. We need more of an emphasis on science and math programs. BTW, I my grandparents came from Mexico but I DO NOT consider myself a "Mexican-American"...No, I am just an American.

Anonymous

Posted May 5 2011

Given today's economy, these cuts are not unreasonable, we do have to use some common sense nowadays because we no longer have the luxury of years past, to these kids, please move on and make the best of this bad situation we are all in. It is not the end of the world. I belong to a minority and have a son who graduated from Berkeley a few years ago who did not take a single class from the Ethnic Studies department.

Anonymous

Posted May 5 2011

Funny how these groups don't mind programs for a 'specific ethnice group' only when the groups are non white. I see it all the time in the media. The media will talk about the hispanic community, or the asian community or the black community--------but you never see the term white community unless it is a negative connetation. As for the books about mexicans in the 70's or whenever, I don't think that many were written. Write them if you want. America is suppose to be about assimilation and that includes various ethnic groups and customs. How many ethnicities celebrate Cinco de Mayo or Chinese New Year or have incorporated urban terminolgy to include the fist bump. Come on people, if you want to be around people 'just like you, go to those countries and live. I think this is a form of racism aganist whites. I think one of the few groups that has a valid bitch is Native Americans and they're still being diffused. Oh FYI, I'm asian and mexican but look filipino, go figure

Anonymous

Posted May 5 2011

All the departments have suffered job cuts, so Ethnic Studies is no exception. It is wrong to bring the "color factor" to this. Most fellowships are available for diversity students; so stop complaining!

Anonymous

Posted May 5 2011

Students are totally missing who to point the finger at! Where do they think the money is going to come from in a state with a 20 Billion dollar deficit. If they want to do something constructive they should organize a plan to target the Wall Street Crooks that ruined the economy. That would help them and the rest of us as well!!

Anonymous

Posted May 5 2011

Well lets see here what is gonna make these students more competitive in a global marketplace? Studying non-essential topics such as these? Or being able to continue to fund Math and Science departments that will more often translate in to a valuable degree when they exit this Liberal haven of a school? Just a thought....

Anonymous

Posted May 5 2011

roflmfao. Are these people serious? The ONLY group of people who have pitched a bitch about ALL of Americans for bringing their lazy asses over here in the first place. Well actually, it was the SOUTH who did the majority of working these people, yet they blame EVERYBODY for it. Seriously people, get a grip on yourselves and stop all the pissin and moanin.

Anonymous

Posted May 5 2011

roflmfao. Are these people serious? The ONLY group of people who have pitched a bitch about ALL of Americans for bringing their lazy asses over here in the first place. Well actually, it was the SOUTH who did the majority of working these people, yet they blame EVERYBODY for it. Seriously people, get a grip on yourselves and stop all the pissin and moanin.

Anonymous

Posted May 5 2011

Its pretty sad, some comments here are as if they are coming from Nazi's.

Anonymous

Posted May 5 2011

A degree in ethnic studies is the equivalent of a highschool diploma as far as jobs as concerned. Why even bother to go to college if it lands you a job at Starbucks?

Anonymous

Posted May 5 2011

Excuse me---Ethnic Studies are needed because let's face it, history is still basically taught mainly from a white European perspective. Also just becuase some of you who posted on this board said YOU don't need these classes, it does NOT mean that OTHER people don't need them. If learning history is so non-essential to getting jobs, well then, let's stop learning about English and European history, since knowing all of that dosen't get you jobs unless you're a teacher. Left-over idea from the '60's---oh,please. I don't think that it's a coincidence that there seems be a recent assault on classes that don't present history from a whie male viewpoint by these right-wing Tea Party nuts---mainly becaue they still haven't accepted the fact we have a black president. Heck, in Texas, a bunch of Tea Party nuts in the state board are trying to revise history in their school textbooks to say that the Civil War wasn't really fought over slavery (it was) and bascially trying to make it seem like Dr. King and Cesar Chavez were just rabble-rousers. Also, since when is learning about one's history (especially history that was pretty much kept out of schools until recently) a waste of time? I say, good for the students---keep in mind, THEY are paying for these classes too---not ALL students have parents who pay all their tuition---here in Michigan, a great many students have to work to pay their own tuition,period.

Anonymous

Posted May 5 2011

A degree in ethnic studies is the equivalent of a highschool diploma as far as jobs as concerned. Why even bother to go to college if it lands you a job at Starbucks?

Anonymous

Posted May 5 2011

Excuse me---Ethnic Studies are needed because let's face it, history is still basically taught mainly from a white European perspective. Also just becuase some of you who posted on this board said YOU don't need these classes, it does NOT mean that OTHER people don't need them. If learning history is so non-essential to getting jobs, well then, let's stop learning about English and European history, since knowing all of that dosen't get you jobs unless you're a teacher. Left-over idea from the '60's---oh,please. I don't think that it's a coincidence that there seems be a recent assault on classes that don't present history from a whie male viewpoint by these right-wing Tea Party nuts---mainly becaue they still haven't accepted the fact we have a black president. Heck, in Texas, a bunch of Tea Party nuts in the state board are trying to revise history in their school textbooks to say that the Civil War wasn't really fought over slavery (it was) and bascially trying to make it seem like Dr. King and Cesar Chavez were just rabble-rousers. Also, since when is learning about one's history (especially history that was pretty much kept out of schools until recently) a waste of time? I say, good for the students---keep in mind, THEY are paying for these classes too---not ALL students have parents who pay all their tuition---here in Michigan, a great many students have to work to pay their own tuition,period.

Anonymous

Posted May 5 2011

Wow...some of this comments are pure racists or dishonorable. It's America....you are right, but unless you are Native American, you family some where in your blood was an immigrant. So get used to the fact that ethnic studies is very important because we all came from some where. Stop being ignorant.

Anonymous

Posted May 5 2011

Quote from Article
"“This institution is very white-dominated,”

*****
That's why it is a world class organization.

Anonymous

Posted May 5 2011

bon apetit' (please excuse the blatantly euro comment)

Anonymous

Posted May 5 2011

WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

Anonymous

Posted May 5 2011

WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

Anonymous

Posted May 5 2011

I'm inclined to agree with most of the postings that if you really want to make a difference, go out into your community and make a difference. Quit playing the I'm any ethnicity but white card. All programs and those who administer those programs across the board in many colleges are on the cutting block, what makes this so special?

Anonymous

Posted May 5 2011

Only after the musician instructors.

Anonymous

Posted May 5 2011

Claire Buss is full of shit, 176 hours my ass...

Anonymous

Posted May 5 2011

"a bunch of Tea Party nuts in the state board are trying to revise history in their school textbooks to say that the Civil War wasn't really fought over slavery"

For many years the Civil War was also known as 'The War Between the States'. But now that term has become offensive to some people (racially hypersensitive people) because they believe slavery was the only reason for the war and any label other than 'Civil War' belittles their cause. The truth is there were many many reasons for the Civil War, including major economic differences between the North and South, states vs. federal rights, and widespread provincialism. Of course slavery was the root of the problem, but let's not underestimate the abundance of excuses people will use to hate each other.

Anonymous

Posted May 5 2011

All these ethnic programs have ever taught them to do is PLAY THE RACE CARD.

Those big, bad white people are the ones who created the education system that the ethnix are now using and abusing.

Munoz and Sanchez are professional race baiters, they make their living spewing white hatred.

Dong should be intellectually honest and teach the learning challenged racists Carillo and Rivera about the huge Asian populations at places like UCB.

Clare 'I could go on forever ' Buss is not even worth the comment.

Anonymous

Posted May 5 2011

Ethnic studies? Park on the side of the road in Oakland after midnight and learn all you want.

Anonymous

Posted May 5 2011

To the anonymous poster who declared: "Its pretty sad, some comments here are as if they are coming from Nazi's."

Wow. Forget about ethnic studies. You need schooling in basic English.

Anonymous

Posted May 5 2011

Hard to win on this issue if you die of hunger!!

Anonymous

Posted May 5 2011

Ethnic studies?

Learn how to hotwire a car 101

Learn how to make a shank in prison 101

Learn how to collective welfare when others have to work 101

Anonymous

Posted May 5 2011

''This institution is very white-dominated" give me a break. Ignorant young people need to learn from older wiser people and learn this isn;t about ethnicity anymore. We have a black president in case they didn't notice. Besides, there is no ''CAUCASIAN studies'' or I'm pretty sure it would have been the first to get cut. But oh wait, it couldnt get started in the first place because that would be "racist" right? Even though we're all part of the human "race".. the proper term I never seem to hear from a very rare color-intolerant intellectual. Ignorance baffles me.

Anonymous

Posted May 5 2011

Face the reality. Whether you like it or not. The internet becomes the main source of education.

Anonymous

Posted May 5 2011

This is absolutely one of the dumbest subjects to study ever. Utter nonsense!

Anonymous

Posted May 5 2011

THE most ridiculous waste of time ever. Study American history and learn about everything you need to know from slavery to suffrage. And while we are on it, the study of lbgbt's are stupid too!

Anonymous

Posted May 5 2011

Walking backwards into the 21st century with your eyes on the 1960s...

Anonymous

Posted May 5 2011

let them starve

Anonymous

Posted May 5 2011

Just shut them down altogether. Go study math or physics or computer science - or is that too hard? What do you actually study in Ethnic studies, that US is a white male dominated society? Or (probably more correctly) that it used to be?

Anonymous

Posted May 5 2011

Sorry to say this, but Ethnic Studies is comparable to studying history, which is a noble subject. Some people are interested in attending college for the sake of attaining knowledge, which is correct. Ethnic Studies is interesting, fascinating, and teaches valuable skills such as writing, critical thinking and analysis. Also, the courses promote tolerance and diversity, which always leads to a better society. I am sorry to read some of the hateful comments on this board. I graduated from UCB and took all kinds of courses, including Women's Studies, Sociology, History, and African American literature. These courses and their instructors fostered a lifelong love of learning. Today I enjoy reading much more than I did in my K-12 years. That is a testament to the excellent faculty at UCB. Please feel free to criticize me.

Anonymous

Posted May 5 2011

Sorry to say this, but Ethnic Studies is comparable to studying history, which is a noble subject. Some people are interested in attending college for the sake of attaining knowledge, which is correct. Ethnic Studies is interesting, fascinating, and teaches valuable skills such as writing, critical thinking and analysis. Also, the courses promote tolerance and diversity, which always leads to a better society. I am sorry to read some of the hateful comments on this board. I graduated from UCB and took all kinds of courses, including Women's Studies, Sociology, History, and African American literature. These courses and their instructors fostered a lifelong love of learning. Today I enjoy reading much more than I did in my K-12 years. That is a testament to the excellent faculty at UCB. Please feel free to criticize me.

Anonymous

Posted May 5 2011

boo freekin hoo..... too much money spent on patronizing these classes anyway.......and I realize Berkeley just can't get their liberal Birkenstock minds around it, but Gov. Jan Brewer is RIGHT-

Anonymous

Posted May 8 2011

(The author who has 35 years’ consulting experience, has taught at UC Berkeley (Cal.) where he was able to observe the culture & the way senior management work)

University of California Berkeley Chancellor Birgeneau gross over spending, inept decisions: recruits (using California tax $) out of state $50,000 tuition students that displace qualified Californians from public university education; spends $7,000,000 for consultants to do his & many vice chancellors jobs (prominent East Coast university accomplishing same at 0 cost); pays ex Michigan governor $300,000 for lectures; Latino enrollment drops while out of state jumps 2010; tuition to Return on Investment (ROI) drops below top10; NCAA places basketball program on probation: absence institutional control.

Californians, UC Board of Regents Chairman Gould, Calif. State Legislature should take note of chancellors, like Birgeneau, who ignore California’s deficit and replace them with those who understand the basic concept of public service to Californians.

Anonymous

Posted Oct 6 2011

All that the ethnocentric and bigoted comments below do is prove why Ethnic Studies programs are needed.

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