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October 26, 1998

'Teach-in' demonstrates support for affirmative action

By Francine Tyler

Members of the UCSC and Santa Cruz communities shared their views about diversity and concerns about changes to affirmative action policies at a "teach-in" last Thursday.

More than 500 students, faculty, and staff turned out for the Faculty Teach-In for Affirmative Action (more photos).

More than 500 students, faculty, and staff packed the Stevenson College Dining Hall to attend the "Faculty Teach-In for Affirmative Action." The crowd at times grew so large that it spilled onto an outside patio, where speeches were broadcast via stereo speakers.

The teach-in was part of a UC-wide effort by faculty to call attention to the negative impact of Proposition 209 and Regents' resolutions SP-1 and SP-2 on diversity at the University of California, said associate professor of American studies Judy Yung, who delivered the opening remarks. Student leaders held their own rally, march, and teach-in the previous night.

"We see today's teach-in as the beginning of many forums to come to educate ourselves about affirmative action and diversity issues, as well as to take action against any system that is discriminatory and unjust," Yung said.

Regents' initiatives SP-1 and SP-2 banned the consideration of race, religion, gender, color, ethnicity, and national origin from UC admissions, employment, and contracting decisions.

Proposition 209, passed by California voters in 1996, banned consideration of race and gender in university admissions and government hiring and contracting.

At the faculty teach-in, the nearly 20 speakers included Chancellor Greenwood and Executive Vice Chancellor John Simpson. The speakers shared their views on affirmative action, ethnic studies, women's studies, and related programs in the UC system, and discussed strategies for making UC more inclusive.

The goals of the teach-in, as stated by event organizers, were:

"We're mainly focused on the Regents' resolutions," said Bettina Aptheker, a professor of women's studies and one of the event organizers. "The thing we can change at the university is to ask the Regents to reverse the policy."

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