Students rally against consolidation of CCSF diversity departments

Groups of activists and students gathered at City College of San Francisco's Ram Plaza to protest against the consolidation of the ethnic, gender and cultural diversity departments, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012. Photo by Ellie Loarca / Xpress

City College of San Francisco held a rally today to protest the consolidation of their diversity departments that would eliminate classes, jobs and opportunities.

The Occupy SFSU‘s Ad Hoc Solidarity Committee joined the rally to support the students at CCSF and conserve a wide variety of diversity classes that were hard fought here at state.

“It’s quite frightening and I know this is happening because of the privatization of what should be available to the public,” said Lalo Gonzalez, a recent SFSU grad and three year education activist.

According to the CCSF Coalition, the Board of Trustees have proposed to dump classes that fall into nine different studies into one department, which includes LGBT, ethnic and cultural studies.

Elizabeth Arruda, chair of CCSF’s Women’s Studies Department, said that these departments are being compromised because of budgetary and accreditation challenges. Despite these hurdles, these departments need to maintain their separation because of ongoing human rights struggles within the education system, she said.

“We need to work past this, we’ve worked through Proposition 30 and we can get through this too, we must maintain these departments to maintain equal education,” Arruda said.

SF State has a history of radical student organizations that have fought for ethnic, cultural, gender and community studies in public schools.

“SF State is known for their revolutionary classes and the radicals who have organized protests for inclusion. We fought for them here and we will support City College in their fight for equal access,” Gonzalez said.

Many students spoke about how cultural diversity classes have helped them learn about their own ethnicities, identities and histories.

Ronnie Appleseed, a transgender student and organizer for the Gender Diversity Project, said the diversity deparments helped him and others understand his identity.

“I’m tired of being in the closet. I’m sick of it, and to be honest, telling everyone puts me at risk,” Appleseed said. “We need these classes in order for others to take notice of our intersecting identities and keep CCSF diverse.”

Despite the passing of Prop. 30, where community colleges expect to see 30 percent of revenue come to their campus, the CSU Board of Trustees continue to cut the budget.

“The board has already voted and only one trustee was against it, that shows you that they don’t care about decisions that aren’t going to effect them,” Gonzalez said. “They aren’t students themselves. They are business people and only worry about how much money is in their pockets.”