Grad Students on Behalf of LALS Lecturers

Here is a copy of a letter going around for grad students to sign. If you are interested in signing please:



To: Dean Sheldon Kamieniecki,

Chancellor George Blumenthal,

Executive Vice Chancellor David Klinger,

VP Due, Bill Ladusaw,

Re: Budget Cuts–Latin American and Latino Studies (LALS) Department

We write this collective letter as Latin American and Latino Studies (LALS) parenthetical graduate students, and other concerned graduate students who support the LALS department, its distinguished faculty, and its strong undergraduate teaching. Since its formation in the early 1990s, LALS has supported innovative teaching and research through its commitment to interdisciplinarity. In specific, the LALS department has made nationally recognized and unprecedented strides in bridging ethnic and area studies approaches to the study of the Western hemisphere.

We strongly urge you to reconsider your recommendation to terminate Dr. Guillermo Delgado and Dr. Susanne Jonas, who are both founding members of the LALS Department and who contribute greatly to undergraduate education, mentorship, and retention of underrepresented students at UC Santa Cruz. Dr. Delgado and Dr. Jonas have proven their commitment to undergraduate education as full-time teachers and continually inspire students because of their research-based courses especially in the areas of migration, indigenous and Central American studies. Potential cuts in their employment and the courses they teach would undermine important advances UCSC has made in the past several decades in the direction of both attracting and retaining underrepresented students and would thus compromise the vitality and diversity of UCSC.

As mentioned, LALS is nationally recognized as an incredibly innovative and interdisciplinary program. As graduate students, we greatly value our opportunities to work as Teaching Assistants in the LALS department. Our engagement and service in this capacity as TAs has been critical for our learning how to develop innovative curriculum based on a hemispheric approach in the study of the Americas. Moreover, this training has made us competitive relative to other recent graduates in the social sciences in this increasingly constricted job market. Both Dr. Delgado and Dr. Jonas contribute greatly to our training and mentorship and we fear that future graduate student job placement would be negatively affected by their termination.

We encourage you to consider alternative ways to manage this budget crisis, such as pay cuts to senior administrators, following the University of Delaware’s example. In contrast to the proposal under consideration at UCSC, senior administrators at the University of Delaware have opted to take a reduction in pay instead of compromising core programs and services:

“We are planning to provide previously committed salary increases for the coming year while maintaining our core programs and services to support our students, faculty research and continued services to the University community. Given the uncertain economic times, and after careful consideration, I have decided to take a 10 percent reduction in my base salary and variable merit pay for 2009 and both the Provost and Executive Vice President base salary and variable merit pay for 2009 will be reduced by five percent.”1

In addition to considering this strategy, we hope that you make every effort possible to listen to other students’ proposals and answer our questions during this period of uncertainty. Perhaps a participatory budget model would best fit this request. We are in conversation and agreement with undergraduates, staff, and faculty who also want different solutions to budgetary problems.

Thank you for your consideration of this urgent request to reconsider the importance of Dr. Guillermo Delgado and Dr. Susanne Jonas in the LALS department to the ongoing viability of the LALS department and the UCSC community in general.

1 University of Delaware President Patrick Harker, A New Year 1/11/09 Letter.

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