With all eyes on the midterm elections and races that were too close to call, this story almost slipped through the cracks. Apparently UCLA has an effort called the "Activist-in-Residence Program," which is – get this – geared towards making increasing "the participation of progressive thought leaders at every level of government." As if California needs anymore progressive thought leaders.
The activist program is now in its third year and has the following goals:
Our organizations recognize that the work of social change is demanding. It is our objective to help sustain the activists, artists, and public intellectuals involved in this work through the UCLA Activist-in-Residence program. We believe this collaboration will help strengthen the infrastructure of social transformation by providing leaders/activists with the time and space to recharge and to reflect upon a complex challenge facing their communities, while also allowing UCLA students to develop or strengthen their own commitment to social justice.
The goals of this program are to:
- Provide activists, artists, and public intellectuals the opportunity to explore or study a complex issue and perhaps to imagine new approaches or scholarship that will improve the lives of people in their community.
- Increase the participation of progressive thought leaders 1) at every level of government 2) in nonprofit organizations and 3) in groups that influence public policy and grassroots organizing.
- Encourage collaborative teaching and learning communities that create new models of public scholarship and engagement for students. For example, developing narratives that intersect the personal with political empowerment and link students’ lives to broader social processes, thereby “turning the university inside out.”
Those who are selected will be considered part-time and receive:
• A $7,500 stipend.
• Potential for $2,500 in research support.
• Office space at the Luskin School of Public Affairs.
• Paid parking.
• Access to UCLA library and research facilities.
To qualify, an applicant must:
• Be 18 years or older.
• Live and work in the Los Angeles region.
• Be available part-time during the residency period (January 7 – June 30, 2019).
• Currently work full-time or have recently held a senior leadership position at a community organization or government agency that works with underserved low-income, immigrant, and/or communities of color.
• Be committed to working for social justice.
• Be committed to building a cross-disciplinary network of leaders and scholars.
• Present a clearly articulated statement about what the Resident hopes to gain from the fellowship and what issues s/he plans to explore. For example, how resources would be used for reflection and renewal, in addition to working on and addressing a complex challenge in her/his field.
• Be able to converse in English and/or provide a translator for all group meetings.
• Not be a current university student or employee.
• Submit all requested information by the application deadline: Friday, November 2, 2018, 5 p.m.
Two people will be chosen for the fellowship, one under the UCLA Asian American Studies program, the other under the Institute on Inequality and Democracy.
The Asian American Studies program "fellow will focus on addressing social inequality in Asian American and Pacific Islander communities by participating in a variety of events, such as presentations, class visits, workshops, panels, activist projects, video projects, and Center meetings."
The Institute fellow "will undertake social movement research and pedagogy directly concerned with equity at the urban scale—preferably in one or more of the following themes: Housing Justice in Unequal Cities; Debt and Predatory Financialization; Policing and Incarceration; and Decolonizing the University."
Not all UCLA students are thrilled about the program though.
“I am sick of all the administrative failures. These officials should not abuse their seats to advance their personal politics,” Jonathan Blaisdell told Campus Reform. “They are undermining the credibility of the University through their partisan policies and mismanagement. No more sweeping leadership problems under the rug. I want to see the University truly turn a new leaf.”