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Faculty letter encourages local students to apply to SDSU

October 19, 2009 - 6:39 pm

San Diego State University faculty members are urging local students to apply en masse to SDSU despite controversial admissions changes aimed at curbing the number of local applicants and limiting overall enrollment. In an open letter to local high-school students, professors Isidro Ortiz and Maria Nieto-Senour write that “while this policy change may suggest that you are not welcome at SDSU, we want to communicate to you that we… want you at SDSU, and we are not the only faculty who feel that way.”

The pair is asking students to apply despite the policy change and encourage their peers to do the same. They also ask students to tell their parents to call on California State University Chancellor Charles Reed, CSU trustees and elected officials to restore SDSU’s local admission guarantee.

SDSU administrators have stood behind their decision, citing historic state cutbacks, an already-open enrollment period and additional eligibility points that will be awarded to local applicants. SDSU spokeswoman Gina Jacobs said that university President Stephen Weber is “responding to questions as he receives them. We are moving ahead with the policy and what we do next year will largely depend on the budget situation.”

The NAACP, Association of Raza Educators, the Latino Concilio on Higher Education of San Diego County and other groups have also circulated letters opposing the admissions changes, though Ortiz and Nieto-Senour’s appears to be the first letter written on behalf of SDSU faculty. “We do not know you simply as a number,” they write. “We know you as the sons and daughters of our neighbors, friends, and relatives; and of the taxpayers who pay our salaries. We know you, most importantly, as the future of San Diego, California and the United States.”

You can read the full letter after the jump.

Dear Students:

We are Isidro D. Ortiz, PhD, SDSU Professor of Chicana and Chicano Studies, and Maria Nieto- Senour, PhD, SDSU Professor of Counseling Psychology, and Trustee of the San Diego Community College District.  Together we have been on the SDSU faculty for over 50 years.  During this period we have been recognized by SDSU and CSU for our excellence in teaching and mentoring of students such as yourselves.  In short, we are among the very best of the faculty at SDSU and California State University (CSU) system. We have also been blessed to have been able to help students such as yourselves achieve their goals and the American Dream by attending SDSU.

As you may have heard, the application period for Fall 2010 admission to SDSU is now open.  You may have also heard that SDSU recently changed its admissions policy. The change may not be making you feel very welcome at SDSU. You may also be feeling betrayed and angry because you have worked so hard to qualify for admission and now the administration at SDSU is changing the rules on you. Some of you may not want to apply although you know that SDSU is the only college where you could earn your bachelor’s degree because of circumstances such as having to help your family or inability to pay for college elsewhere.

We want to inform you that this change in policy was not the work of faculty such as ourselves.

In fact, while this policy change may suggest that you are not welcome at SDSU, we want to communicate to you that we, two of the best faculty on the campus, want you at SDSU, and we are not the only faculty who feel that way.

We want you in our classes. We want to see you at the library studying hard to excel at SDSU. We want to see you working hard to achieve and realize your dreams. We want to see you participating in student organizations on the campus and learning how to be leaders on the campus and in the community.

We want to see the smiles and tears of joy on your faces at graduation when you and your families celebrate your graduation, knowing that for many of you, you will be the first in your family to graduate from college in spite of many sacrifices and long struggles. We want to see you beaming with pride at earning a college degree and feeling grateful for the opportunity to earn a degree.

We request that you not be discouraged by the policy change.  We request that you do not go quietly into the night. Instead insist on what you and thousands of other students and your parents have been working toward all of those years—the opportunity to earn a college degree at SDSU.

Please know that you are not alone.  Know that you have much support for your dreams of earning a bachelor’s degree at SDSU from community elders, teachers, counselors, elected officials and others throughout the San Diego area.

We do not know you simply as a number. We know you as the sons and daughters of our neighbors, friends, and relatives; and of the taxpayers who pay our salaries.  We know you, most importantly, as the future of San Diego, California and the United States.

Do not be discouraged by the bureaucracy. Apply, apply for admission to SDSU.

And, please request that your parents call/write CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed and the Trustees and local elected officials and call on them to restore the local student admission guarantee now.

Sincerely,

Isidro D. Ortiz, PhD
Maria Nieto-Senour, PhD

Charles B. Reed, Chancellor
California State University
401 Golden Shore, Suite 641
Long Beach, CA 90802
(562) 951-4700; fax: 562 951-4986

CSU Trustees, c/o secretariat
401 Golden Shore, Suite 136
Long Beach, CA 90802
(562) 951-4020; fax: (562) 951-4949

Assemblymember Marty Block, 78th AD
Capitol Office:

State Capitol
P.O. Box 942849
Sacramento, CA 94249-0078
(916) 319-2078; fax: (916) 319-2178
District Office:
Lemon Grove Plaza
7144 Broadway, 2nd Floor
Lemon Grove, CA  91945
(619) 462-7878; Fax: (619) 462-0078

Assemblymember Mary Salas, 79th AD
Capitol
Office:
State Capitol
P. O. Box  942849
Sacramento, CA 94249-0079
(916) 319-2079; fax: (916) 319-2179
District Office

678 Third Avenue, Suite 105
Chula Vista, CA 91910
(619) 409-7979; fax: (619) 409-9270

Senator Denise Ducheny, 40th SD
Capitol Office
State Capitol
Room 5035
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 651-4040; fax: (916) 327-3522
District Office

637 Third Avenue, Suite A-1
Chula Vista, CA 91910
(619) 409-7690; fax: (619) 409-7688

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