RIVERSIDE., Calif.--In a protest reminiscent of the student unrest during the 1960s, approximately 200 students at the University of California at Riverside (UCR) last month staged a rally to fight the proposed dismantling of the Ethnic Studies programs.
The rally was a response to a proposal by David Warren, dean of the college of Humanities and Social Sciences, to dismantle the Asian Studies, Black Studies, Chicano Studies, Health and Society, and Religious programs in an effort to "streamline" the school.
Warren has claimed that these programs do not have enough students enrolled as majors and that the programs cost too much to maintain. He questioned whether the programs should exist, saying. "Money and manpower can be better spent improving more traditional departments."
Chancellor Tomas Rivera shared similar sentiments, saying that cutting the programs would serve to "consolidate resources and academic strengths of the college." Rivera added that no decisions concerning the future of the programs have been made.
During the rally, the group of dissenters, amidst chants of "Hell no, we won't go," and "Chicano Studies. Black Studies: here today, here to stay," marched to the Large Commons Conference Room, where Rivera. Warren and several other administrators were having lunch.
After several minutes, student leaders were allowed into the conference room. When Ron Balestrien, president of the Graduate Student Council, asked questions regarding the fate of Ethnic studies programs, at UCR, or why Black and Chicano Studies are being scheduled for dismantlement. Warren declined to comment.
Rivera said, "I am not going to respond today...there is ample opportunity for student output in a context of correct action. Rivera said he believed it inappropriate to discuss the Ethnic Studies issue because the academic program review process is currently underway.
The protesters sang. "We Shall Overcome" as student leaders filed out of the conference room. The Highlander, UCR's student newspaper, reported.
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