An Open letter to the Board of Trustees and Chancellor Charles B. Reed, California State University System
September 15, 2009
Dear Chancellor Reed and Honorable Trustees: Let me respectfully introduce myself. My name is Gracia Molina de Pick, and I am a Commissioner for the Human Rights Commission for the City of San Diego. I am a nation-wide lifelong advocate for education as a human right for all persons, and I am a respected elder in the San Diego Latino Community. As a result of a recent substantial donation for scholarships for all students, I am a member of President Weber’s Leadership Council, San Diego State University. Last Spring I coordinated a very successful community-wide fund raiser featuring my good friend and colleague Gloria Steinem, to raise funds for feminist historical research at SDSU and UCSD. I have been a professional educator all of my life having taught in Mexico and the United States at the higher education level. As part of my professional contributions, I was a founder of Chicano-a Studies nationwide, including SDSU. In recognition of this service I served as an appointee to the California Higher Education Commission.
I have recently learned that the administration of SDSU is proposing a change in the present admissions policy. It is my understanding that the proposed changes will result in the reduction of access to SDSU for thousands of CSU eligible students in the SDSU service area where the minority population of the County is over 50%. It also appears that this change will nullify the CSU system-wide policy of “local guarantee of admission.” Additionally, I have learned that the SDSU administration has been informed by the chair of SDSU’s Academic Senate Diversity and Equity Committee that the changes will reduce access for local students, the heaviest impact of which will be on Latino students, the largest minority student population in San Diego County.
This causes me great concern. The CSU “local guarantee of admission” policy has not only allowed for inclusive admissions for local students, it has provided SDSU representation reflective of San Diego County. Additionally local CSU-eligible students who face economic and other challenges have been able to attend a four-year institution because they have not had to move outside the SDSU area. This policy has also benefitted San Diego’s economy by providing a college-level locally-vested work force.
It is my most sincere hope that you will not allow a change in this policy. I know that in the past the CSU was responsive to the needs of students by establishing “the local student guarantee of admission” as part of CSU policy, and as such has enabled CSU’s to fully serve the current and future educational needs of their service areas. The policy is a great contribution to California education and must continue.
In closing, I am aware that President Weber will soon be retiring, and I am sure that he would not wish his legacy to be the elimination of this very successful admission policy, but rather he would wish to be remembered as a promoter of diversity and inclusion at SDSU.
Gracia Molina de Pick
Commissioner, Human Relations Commission, City of San Diego