Outreach at the University of California is designed to bring "diversity" into the college classroom. After the abolition of affirmative action programs in California, outreach became big business. Outreach caters to black and Latino communities to the tune of $24 million per year. One outreach program, Puente, specifically targets Latino students in community colleges and high schools. Both the college and high school programs offer English classes with a specific focus on Latino literature and experience, field trips to University of California campuses, and personal Puente counselors and mentors.
Similarly, the goal of the Early Academic Outreach Program is to maximize the presence of "underrepresented" racial groups on campus. EAOP services include helping students write personal statements for admissions applications and organizing campus tours and field trips. Indirectly, UC outreach includes funding student groups like MEChA, a radical Latino group that espouses the conquest of Aztlan (the American Southwest) for the "bronze" people.
I spoke last week by phone with Daniela Conde, a sophomore at UCLA. Conde was a beneficiary of outreach programs when she entered college, and she is involved with MEChA. She is especially upset with cuts to the labor programs proposed by Gov. Schwarzenegger. "I went to a program through the university called the Summer Internship Program," said Conde. "I was placed with a union, and I helped organize the Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride." The Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride imitated the civil rights freedom rides of the 1960s, encouraging the government to grant full rights to illegal aliens. Conde participated in this activity on the taxpayer buck.
I also spoke with Peter Tadao Gee, a junior at UC Berkeley. With all of the cuts to EAOP, Puente and other non-student-initiated outreach, Gee explained, "a lot of the weight of the responsibility to make up for that is going to be put on student groups." Gee is involved with a student group that will lose money for outreach if the cuts go through.
Both Gee and Conde show admirable tenacity in their efforts to help their communities, but they are all too willing to do so with tax dollars. As a UC student, I have benefited immensely from state education, but if the taxpayers are unwilling to spend money on my schooling, I must take personal responsibility for my own tuition. When Californians elected the Terminator, they voted for government cuts. Cuts hurt. But they hurt far less than tax increases, as Gov. Davis discovered.
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