Public letter to Charles B. Reed, Chancellor and Board of Trustees, California State University
"We concur that SDSU is once again pursuing a strategy of “discouraging” local students from enrolling at the campus. This discouragement had been one of the well kept secrets on the campus. ...By closing the door to many of these youngsters the University and CSU will perpetuate the educational inequality that has plagued women in our society. "
-- W.A.G.E. (We Advocate Gender Equality)
September 23, 2009
Honorable Chancellor Reed and Trustees:
We Advocate Gender Equality (WAGE) is an organization committed to promoting gender equality. While our mission emphasizes gender equality we support the achievement of equality for other groups in the society, in particular groups that historically have experienced inequality in higher education.
Yesterday WAGE(www.wage.org) read President Stephen Weber’s announcement that his administration will proceed with admissions changes that benefactors of the university, the chair of the Academic Senate's Diversity and Equity Committee and community organizations have "predicted" will decimate the numbers of local students at SDSU.
WAGE urges you to retract the adopted policy. We concur that SDSU is once again pursuing a strategy of “discouraging” local students from enrolling at the campus. This discouragement had been one of the well kept secrets on the campus. It is no longer a secret.
In deciding to implement the new policy, President Weber and his staff, Provost Nancy Marlin, Ethan Singer, the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Sandra Cook, the Director of Enrollment Service are communicating their disregard for the voices of supporters of equality, the educational needs of the SDSU service area and the importance of developing the native future workforce.
President Weber claimed that the campus will continue to support the Compact for Success Program. This program does not and will not serve the multitude of students in the San Diego area whom the campus is callously telling “go elsewhere, we don’t want you here.” That is why community representatives and organizations such as the Education Consortium, a collaboration of county wide community and business organizations have been working with school districts in the county to improve student access to the A-G curriculum. This set of courses, as you know, is the curriculum required for eligibility for admission to the California State University and the University of California systems.
Examination of the demographics of the San Diego area suggests that female students who now or are on the road to becoming the majority of students in local school districts and community colleges have been affected by the strategy of discouragement and will be adversely affected by the new SDSU policy. To cite one example, it was reported to WAGE that a female student, a former United States Marine who had served in Iraq and achieved a 4.0 grade point average in a local community college was denied admission to SDSU this past summer.
By closing the door to many of these youngsters the University and CSU will perpetuate the educational inequality that has plagued women in our society.
Scholarly studies and observations have revealed that female students tend to be more tied to the area of residence because they have more trouble getting support from their parents to go away, or because they earn less than young men do so they cannot support themselves elsewhere.
Please restore and enhance the local student admit guarantee. Do not be complicit in reducing access to CSU. We urge you to do what is best for the SDSU service area, gender equality and the interests of local students and employers. Collaborate with organizations that are working to improve access to SDSU.
Charity B. Hirsch, WAGE Co-Chair
Cross Plains, WI
Pat Washington, PhD
San Diego, CA
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