|Tuesday, October 20, 1998||
Volume 64, Issue 41
Big Donation to Minority Students
|UCLA, others rally
for affirmative action
This is the first large faculty protest to oppose Prop. 209
By Andy Shah
LOS ANGELES (U-WIRE) — Professors at every University of California campus will kick off a series of protests in defense of affirmative action by voluntarily walking out of their classes Wednesday and Thursday.
Many professors are planning to conduct their classes in UCLA's Royce quad, where they will discuss issues of diversity and affirmative action with their students. Other professors will proceed with their scheduled courseload, but will still hold class in the quad to show their support for the demonstrators.
"Weire going to try to communicate to both the (university) administration and to the students that the faculty continues to support affirmative action goals," said Victor Wolfenstein, a professor of political science and walkout participant.
This action is the latest in a series of protests that have been ongoing since 1995, when the UC Board of Regents passed resolutions that banned the use of race or gender in admission considerations.
Those resolutions foreshadowed Proposition 209, the 1996 statewide initiative that banned the consideration of race or gender in all state hiring.
Similarly, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals' Hopwood vs. Texas decision in 1996 ruled that race could no longer be a factor in admission to law schools in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi.
That decision was followed by one from Texas Attorney General Dan Morales, which extended the prohibition of race consideration to all state university admissions.
Events planned at UCLA include a rally, faculty meetings and an open discussion forum Wednesday and various speakers Thursday, including state Sen. Tom Hayden and the Rev. Jesse Jackson.
Students are planning to help organize the workshops and rally, said Stacy Lee, Undergraduate Students Association Council president.
"Itis our way of showing solidarity with the professors," she
Until now, protests on the issue have been mainly student-organized and student-run. This protest will mark the first time that faculty have participated in a large-scale protest in favor of affirmative action.
"This is the first year students were admitted without affirmative action, and weire seeing the disastrous effects of that," Perez-Torres said.
Other campuses, like Berkeley and Santa Cruz, also have strong support, with about 60 professors at Berkeley planning to walk out.
Some are concerned that students may be subjected to learning about issues that werenit in the original class syllabus against their own will.
But Wolfenstein said discussing these issues has relevance today.
"My students and I are reading Plato's ‘Republic' and talking about social justice right now," said Wolfenstein, who teaches political theory. "If I can teach them about social justice during Plato's time, why shouldnit I ask them to think about justice today?"
The university administration has no stance on the walkouts, said Raymund Paredes, associate vice chancellor of academic development.
"Itis too early to tell how the walkouts will turn out," he said.
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