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“Of color” grad students cry “Microaggression” after prof corrects grammar in their papers

November 25, 2013

The University of California at Los Angeles is a snakepit of racism and sexism:

Now some graduate students are weighing in on what they see as a climate of hostility toward minority students, both in the Graduate School of Education’s Information’s Social Science and Comparative Education division and at UCLA as a whole.

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“What we’re speaking to is part of a larger, institutionalized culture on campus,” said Kenjus Waston, a black Ph.D. candidate in the division and an organizing member of UCLA Call 2 Action: Graduate Students of Color. The group staged a sit-in, or what it called a “teach-in,” during a second-level dissertation preparation course in the division this month. Watson said members hoped to address racially motivated “microagressions” [sic]– seemingly innocuous but ultimately hurtful comments or actions – that have marked their time at UCLA.

About 25 students participated in the sit-in, in the classroom of Val Rust, professor emeritus of education. Watson – a student in that class – said Rust’s course was one of many in which students of “color and consciousness” have experienced discrimination. Of about 10 students in the class, 5 participated in the sit-in. Participants read a letter listing their complaints and a series of demands for reform. Regular coursework was suspended for about an hour because of the sit-in.

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The statement accuses “the professor” (it does not identify Rust by name) of correcting “perceived grammatical choices that in actuality reflect ideologies” and “repeatedly questioning the value of our work on social identity and the related dynamics of oppression, power and privilege.”

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In another case that best exemplifies the “grammar ‘lessons'” referenced in group’s letter, he said, another student who chose to capitalize the first letter in the word “Indigenous” in her research papers saw it changed to a lowercase throughout. Watson said that correction disregarded the writer’s scholarly advocacy and had other “ideological implications.”
And then there’s this:
In an interview, a Hispanic-American female participant and graduate student in the division who did not want to be identified by name said she’d been told by peers that she was “smart for a woman of color” and that others had expressed surprise that she did not speak with an accent.
Clap your hands if you think any of the above alleged insults to the Hispanic-American female grad student in question actually occurred. Also if you believe in fairies. Don’t let Tinkerbell die!
Besides staging the “sit-in”–essentially mobbing a graduate-level class in which few of the “sit-inners” were enrolled so as to grind the instruction to a halt–the “of color” grad students are demanding the following:
Call 2 Action’s online petition has more than 110 signatures in support of its message and demands for reform, including that the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at UCLA commission “an external and systematic inquiry into the campus climate for Graduate Students of Color before the end of the Spring 2014 quarter and work diligently on any subsequent recommendations.” It also demands a more standardized, transparent process for reporting “oppressive” incidents; the integration of race and ethnic studies within the curriculum across the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies; and the hiring of two new faculty members of color “and/or allies per division who are equipped” to supervise critical research and mentor students of color in each of the school’s divisions.
In other words, what the “students of color” really want is segregated grad school.
I have another suggestion: Getting rid of the “Social Science and Comparative Information” program:
The multidisciplinary MA and PhD programs develop students able to teach and conduct research in philosophical, historical, cultural, race, gender, ethnic and comparative studies in education; to act as specialists for United States and overseas programs, non-governmental agencies, and multilateral and bilateral technical assistance agencies; and to engage in analysis of educational issues in the United States and in other areas of the world.
Come again? California’s taxpayers are paying for this stuff?
Posted by Charlotte Allen
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From → Academia

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