Dr. Jody Blanco is an Associate Professor of Comparative Literature, Spanish and Cultural Studies and a member of CCAAS.
Been here since 2001
He says that things are structurally uneven between admin and students.
Admin use turnover tactics
Admin have their own bureaucratic timelines/schedules
The primary job of student is not to be an administrator but a student
“That’s going to stilt the relationship in an uneven and unequal way”
The card that students have is that the admin have made a public commitment to addressing/meeting student needs
So when students can publically organize the admin is obliged to respond
During the Compton Cookout:
Chancellor was responding to an immediate crisis the admin didn’t see coming
The crisis was the BSU protest
Leaders of BSU threatened that Black students would transfer out
For the chancellor this was the worst possible PR disaster
An important point of contrast to what happened after
BSU student demands became expanded to include MEChA and NASA
There was a dilemma as to how those efforts would be coordinated
CCAAS is the third wave of student organizing for Asian American students
Many of which parallel those demands
One of the main differences is BSU took place in a moment of perceived crisis
Admin were hard-pressed to make immediate responses
CCAAS is students going to admin and expressing the need for API students to be on par with other Historically Underrepresented and Underserved Students (HUURS) in terms of having their needs addressed
The university took a prudent tactic and expressing willingness to negotiate with them from the outset
Similarities to Compton Cookout:
When the negotiations get caught up in committees the structural disparities manifest themselves
Students have limited time
Institutional wisdom of how policies and procedures work disappears
Sticking Point - desire for increase in faculty that teach a curriculum addressing HURS issues
For admin this is a department based issue
The departments autonomy feels threatened
Admin strategy is negotiating with departments so they prioritise certain things they hadn’t before
Departments tell admin five years in advance what their priorities are going to be
HUURS are not a high priority for most departments
Comparing BSU/CCAAS demands
Tenure lines/faculty have consistently failed to happen
How can students and admin do things differently?
Current process is 5-10 years long for faculty changes.
Meaning students will never see these faculty
For BSU demands, a number of tenure lines were opened up to satisfy these demands
Admin can move on very quickly when the demand doesn’t require the cooperation of other departments.
Students have ongoing conversation between VCEDI & CCAAS where CCAAS want to meet the executive vice chancellor to talk about tenure lines
VCEDI is insisting this wouldn’t be following due process
Get caught up in admin passing you off to other admin
Difficult for admin to see/understand that students don’t have full-time jobs in admin
What’s the most effective way for faculty to work with students?
Time for faculty is limited as well
Even VCEDI hasn’t figured a way to go forward with student demands
They would need to prioritize department needs that coincide with student demands
There’s a decision made to only hire 1 full-time faculty for every 3 that leave
University only responds to emergency situation
Anything short of that is difficult to change because of due process
Something very glaring about why we don’t have an AA program with over 50% AA students
But when you look at the specifications
Ethnic Studies sees these programs as belonging to a previous model of Ethnic Studies
Which translates to “why should we have an Asian American Studies program when they could just be in Ethnic Studies”
Where would you house the major/minor? Smaller departments that want to fight for it (2 in Literature, 2 in History, 1 in Visual Arts, 4.5 in Ethnic Studies)
Is that alone enough of a reason to not have an Asian American Studies program?
Ethnic Studies department reluctant to do specializations - Berkeley did that - created competition and ended up breaking up the department. Resulting in fragmentation.
CCAAS has been given interim space in CCC until they can find a space on campus
Jody thinks we should just create an Asian American Studies department and just see what happens,