Monday, June 4, 2007

D.O.C. Student Rally And Walkout Video/ Tell Chancellor Fox to Fulfull Her Pledge

Dear Friends,

Last Wednesday 300+ students in the Dimensions of Culture Program at UCSD’s Thurgood Marshall College walked out in protest of the wrongful dismissal of two long-time DOC teaching assistants, Benjamin Balthaser and Scott Boehm. Students associated with the Lumumba-Zapata Coalition organized a march and a demonstration outside the Chancellor’s Office, which was successful in drawing the Chancellor and other administrators outside to discuss the on-going controversy, including the university’s unwillingness to grant student representation on the committee recently established to review academic programs at TMC, including DOC.

Click HERE to view the entire rally on youtube (after reading the rest of the message, please watch and forward this link/message widely to listserves, colleagues, alumni, friends, parents and any media contacts you might have).

To see the first part of the youtube video, click below.

On the video you will notice that the Vice-Chancellor of Undergraduate Education Mark Appelbaum clearly states that Balthaser and Boehm were not rehired for next year not because of their political activities, implying that this decision was based upon their teaching performance. This is in sharp contradiction to what Balthaser and Boehm were told during their “interviews” with DOC Director Abe Shragge, who made it absolutely clear that his decision had nothing to do with their teaching performance—which was exemplary, and included teaching awards. This also contradicts what UCSD Human Resources stated during the first meeting between UCSD and the United Auto Workers, who filed a grievance with the university over the ousting of the two TAs. In that meeting, which took place two days after the student walkout, UCSD Human Resources stated that the teaching practices of Balthaser and Boehm were not the reason for their dismissal, but that it was their public critique of the DOC program that resulted in their ousting.

Also on the video you will see Chancellor Marye Anne Fox pledge to look into the matter and to make sure a just outcome in the case is reached. Yet, as of today—two months since the news first broke—the university has failed to right the wrong done to these two TAs. If free speech and academic freedom mean anything at UCSD this decision must be reversed. If the Chancellor really cares about justice, if she really cares about the concerns of students, if she really cares about campus equity and critical multicultural education, if she really cares about the quality of undergraduate education she should intervene to stop this on-going injustice and show that she means what she says.

We are running out of time, the academic year is almost over. PLEASE DO ONE LAST THING to help the Lumumba-Zapata Coalition’s campaign before the quarter is over. After you watch the video footage, cut and paste the following message and send it to the Chancellor ASAP (please cc the LZC at

Chancellor Marye Anne Fox
(858) 534-3135

Dear Chancellor Fox,

I have witnessed your pledge to look into the non-re-hiring of Benjamin Balthaser and Scott Boehm as teaching assistants in the Dimensions of Culture Program for the upcoming academic year. I have heard you vow to ensure a just outcome is reached in their case. Because UCSD Human Resources stated during their first grievance hearing that their dismissal from DOC has nothing to do with their job performance, but for their public critique of changes to the DOC program—which is exactly what DOC Director Abraham Shragge told Balthaser and Boehm during their “interviews” for re-hire—I call on you to reverse the decision to dismiss them from DOC on the basis of 1st amendment free speech rights, the AAUP-recognized academic freedom of graduate student teachers, and most of all, because UCSD should be a educational site of critical inquiry and debate, not a place where drawing attention to a problem—which TMC Provost Havis himself has recognized by establishing a committee to review DOC—results in disciplinary actions. I believe UCSD should be a university that values critical thinking, principled dissent, and passion for providing the best education possible to students. Most of all, I believe UCSD should be a university that respects all of its workers, and I ask you to intervene on the behalf of Balthaser and Boehm immediately to prove that UCSD is such an institution, and that UCSD’s “Principles of Community” are upheld, rather than exposed as empty rhetoric. You have the power to rescue UCSD’s reputation, which has been degraded because of this situation. I strongly urge you to do so immediately.


[your name]


THANK YOU! There are only two weeks left in the quarter before the summer begins, so we need as many people to contact the Chancellor this week. Please forward this message to EVERYONE you know, every listserve you are on, all your colleagues, your friends and family, including your parents, people at other universities—and, of course, anyone you know in the media, or organizations that work on higher education issues. Encourage them to watch the video footage of the student walkout and demonstration, and to e-mail and call the Chancellor’s Office this week. If we are going to be successful at this point, she must feel the pressure to intervene. Thanks to the walkout and demonstration last week, she is starting to feel it—help us keep the pressure on!

Please contact the LZC if you’d like to get more involved (either now or next year):

In solidarity,