Monday, June 25, 2007


Dear UCSD community:

The Lumumba-Zapata Coalition is back!

For those of you who do not know us, we are a coalition of undergraduates, graduate students, T.A.s and professors. Our common goal is to improve how we teach about diversity, identity, differences of power, and social justice at UCSD.

Last quarter, we launched a campaign to improve Thurgood Marshall College’s Dimensions of Culture (DOC) program. DOC is a mandatory three quarter-long course for TMC undergraduates. Its curriculum is intended to teach students how to think and write critically about identity construction, structural inequality, and social injustice. In recent years, the curriculum has lost its critical edge: rather than being given the skills to interrogate power and ideology, DOC students are being taught to simply “celebrate diversity.” In addition, DOC lecturers and T.A.s who voiced their concerns about how the program has progressively lost its critical edge and pedagogic integrity have been forced out of the program.

Thanks to the hard work of all LZC members and our undergraduate, graduate, and faculty supporters, we made some significant progress last spring quarter. On May 11, Thurgood Marshall College Provost Allan Havis announced the formation of a curriculum committee with the task of reviewing the Dimensions of Culture Program. Forming such a committee has been the central demand of the LZC from the beginning of its campaign. The university has also formed a student committee that will also be involved in this review process.

In spite of this step forward, our task is in no way complete.

We want DOC to offer the most effective ethnic/gender/sexuality studies curriculum with a critique of global capitalism. DOC should have the most up-to-date, critical readings in these fields. We want the lectures to inspire students to think critically about their assumptions surrounding issues of identity, power, and justice. We are still waiting for the DOC and TMC administration to commit to these goals.

DOC Administrators opened this academic year with a curriculum that articulates the same watered-down version of multiculturalism. The DOC and TMC administration presently acknowledge no problem in the way things are taught now. Their aversion to any dialogue on this issue suggests they want things to remain the same. Their inertia tells us that they will do nothing unless we demand that they take action.

This is what you can do to help us improve the DOC curriculum at UCSD:

1) The most important thing right now is that we need people to write an email to Prof. David Gutierrez (the chair of the DOC curriculum committee) demanding that the committee take action on this important issue. It can be a brief note stating: “I support the LZC’s campaign to improve the quality of education on issues of identity, power, and justice at UCSD. I expect the university to make the necessary changes to the DOC curriculum and I demand that they hire the most qualified available lecturers to teach DOC courses.” Please email this note to Prof. Gutierrez at: (also, please cc it to TMC provost Alan Havis at:
2) Subscribe to the LZC email listserv and stay up to date with this campaign. All you need to do is reply to this message and type “subscribe me” in the subject line.
3) Attend the LZC’s meetings and events. Our next meeting will be on Wednesday, 17th at 4:30pm in the bottom level of the Fireside Lounge, TMC campus (future times and locations T.B.A. through the listserv

In solidarity,

Lumumba-Zapata Coalition