And by UCI, I mean the people that go here, went here, and will continue to go here. Because I’m definitely not talking about admin when I say UCI, because lol.
In the spring of 1991, concerned student organizations within the Cross-Cultural Center established the Ethnic Students Coalition Against Prejudicial Education (E.S.C.A.P.E.). The goal of E.S.C.A.P.E. was to push for the implementation of ethnic studies programs at UCI. All of the student umbrella organizations unified in this effort, and they sponsored several major rallies to generate campus support. In 1993, Asian American students held a 35-day rotational hunger strike in an effort to secure more faculty for the Asian American studies program as well as an additional staff member for the Cross-Cultural Center. This extended, but peaceful, protest received considerable media attention and galvanized the Asian American community.
The E.S.C.A.P.E response continues a history of student involvement in curricular reform at UCI. Significant curricular changes safeguarding or advancing interdisciplinary and critical studies have often been driven by students at moments of systemic crisis such as we are facing today. The African American Studies Department at UCI was created after student activism on behalf of underrepresented populations and fields of study in 1989, when UCI had a total of five black faculty on campus (less than 1% of the faculty). Stephanie Lopez, a member of Associated Graduate Students then, said: “They’ve got to start opening doors today, or we’re going to kick the doors down tomorrow” (“More Minority Students, Faculty Urged at UCI,” Los Angeles Times, April 11, 1989). Asian-American students went on a 35-day hunger strike to establish the Department of Asian-American Studies in 1993 (“UCI Needs an Asian-American Program,” May 24, 1993).
The Needs Attention memo sucks because for the obvious reason of.. cutting humanities programs is terrible! But also, students of color worked really hard to get these programs implemented, and now you’re going to take them away? And that’s gross.
And this is not to say that our campus is the best for all of us in its current state. Because it’s not, because it’s not like school is separate from society. But I love the activism by fellow students of color and everyone is so wonderful.