Archive for November, 2009

SANDIWA STANDS IN SOLIDARITY WITH THE UC STUDENT PROTESTS

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 23, 2009 by kulturalguerilla

For Immediate Release
November 21, 2009

Reference: Ryan Leano, Secretary General, SanDiwa National Alliance of Fil-Am Youth
Email: sandiwa.national@gmail.com

THE SANDIWA NATIONAL ALLIANCE OF FIL-AM YOUTH STAND IN SOLIDARITY WITH THE UC STUDENT PROTESTS

The SanDiwa National Alliance of Fil-Am Youth extends its strongest solidarity with the protests led by students of the University of California system. The University of California Board of Regents committee just recently approved a series of controversial increases in student fees that will raise UC undergraduate education costs by 32% by Fall 2010. UC students across all its campuses expressed their outrage at this un-democratic decision and are demanding their right to affordable education by conducting a series of protests. This decision by the UC Regents is another step in a series of other actions throughout the UC and Cal State systems towards the erosion of public education, making college more and more unaffordable for many students and their families, especially low-income families, who are predominantly people of color.

In one protest, students at UC Berkeley took over and occupied Wheeler Hall to demand the UC Board of Regents to rescind their decision to increase student fees. One of the student protestors is PJ Nadal, a Filipino American Ph.D. student in Rhetoric Studies, and a participant of the Philippine Studies Program in 2004, a program whose past participants were the founding members of SanDiwa.

Tuition fee hikes are not unfamiliar to the Filipino student community, both here in the United States and in the Philippines. What is also happening in the Philippines that students in the U.S. can closely relate to is the rising cost of tuition at universities throughout the nation. More and more funding is being taken out of education, and college is becoming more and more unaffordable. Similar situations are happening in the U.S. In New York, the City University of New York system cut $51 million from its budget as the governor’s plan to address the state’s finances in the current financial crisis. In July 2009, The Cal State University system increased student fees by 20% and is not accepting applicants for Winter 2010 and Spring 2010 terms. In addition, classes are being cut and in effect lengthening the time for students to graduate. It is the students who are directly and severely affected by these budget cuts and tuition increases. These are just a few examples of countless others throughout the U.S. What we see is less investment on education and more funding towards law enforcement and military, which is a very similar situation in the Philippines.

Aurora David, a student coordinator of the Pilipino American Student Union at Stanford University, also a member organization of SanDiwa, stated, “We believe that this issue is not just about the UC’s or not even just about the educational system. This issue speaks volumes about our priorities as a society. Why do we keep funding wars and prisons when we can’t even educate our people? What does this reveal about those who make these decisions and their real interests?”

SanDiwa reiterates its strong solidarity with the UC student protestors and demands the UC Regents rescind its decision on the tuition fee increase, a demand that extends to all university systems across the United States and around the world. An affordable and compulsory education is a basic human right, and raising the costs of tuition at unaffordable rates for the majority of the people is a direct violation to this basic human right.

SanDiwa, the youth and students arm of the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON), is a national alliance of youth, students, and community youth organizations, united to (re)educate, celebrate, and advocate for issues that affect our Filipino communities in the United States and in the Philippines. As an alliance, we seek to work cross-culturally in reclaiming our humanity and to work collaboratively with “other” minority groups to protect the rights and welfare of young Filipinos all over the United States.