Petition to Gene Block, Kerri Johnson, Laura E. Goméz, Scott Waugh, Michael S. Levine, Susan Carlson, Janet Napolitano, Greg Bryant, Tim Groeling, Martie Haselton, Francis Steen, PJ Lamberson, Georgia Kernell, Jungseock Joo, Charles Goodwin, Board of Regents, Neil Malamuth, Steve Peterson, UC System Administrators, Campus Administrators, Campus Student Leaders
Open Letter to UCLA Administrators: Keep Professor Fink at UCLA!
We, the undersigned, are deeply repulsed by UCLA’s treatment (or rather, mistreatment) of Keith Fink — one of the most popular and influential professors on campus. In concert with other campus officials, the Department of Communication Studies’ leaders (Chair Kerri Johnson and Vice Chair Greg Bryant) have repeatedly taken actions against Professor Fink that thwart his academic freedom and threaten his continued impact on thousands of UCLA students for years to come. Kerri Johnson and Greg Bryant took the helm of the Communication Studies Department at the beginning of the 2016-17 academic year. Prior to ever meeting or speaking with Professor Fink – let alone seeing him teach – Johnson implemented an unprecedentedly-rigid cap on his courses, reversing years’ of past precedent. Her capricious justifications for this are dubious, at best. Campus Reform explains in detail here. The Department’s most recent actions are even more repulsive. Professor Fink is up for “Excellence Review” (an “up or out” review conducted during a lecturer’s 18th quarter teaching). Johnson and her staff have repeatedly attempted to deprive Fink of the opportunity submit positive material into his Excellence Review file. Such positive information would flatly contradict their mission to have Professor Fink deemed “not excellent” and thus terminated from UCLA. At the outset of his evaluation, Professor Fink identified three Academic Senate faculty (including Johnson and Bryant) in the Department as “biased,” meaning their preexisting animosity towards Fink would prevent them from being able to objectively evaluate him. Despite their obligation to go to great lengths to avoid having a “biased” faculty member evaluate his course, Johnson nevertheless chose Bryant to evaluate Fink’s teaching. Unsurprisingly, Bryant’s review was negative. On a more sinister level, it is riddled with pernicious lies, deceptively mischaracterizes his course with out-of-context examples, and casts Fink as a radical loose cannon who uses “his role as a lecturer to espouse his own personal legal views.” Nothing could be further from the truth – evidenced in part by the glowing evaluations of almost all of the thousands of students who have taken his courses. Johnson also forcefully and incorrectly misstated the University policy governing the inclusion of positive student evaluation letters in his review file. To this day, she never acknowledged her mistake. Later, in dereliction of University policy, the Department failed to solicit student letters from a list of names provided by Professor Fink — until it was too late. When pressed on the issue and given a new list of names of students from whom letters could be solicited, the department “accidentally” omitted the single best letter from his review file. These actions are no mistake and certainly not a coincidence. They constitute a series of calculated lies, vindictive decisions, and sloppy coverups to dispose of someone they dislike. The conspicuous amount of dishonesty and injustice targeted at Professor Fink is the antithesis of “Bruin Values” – the same virtues that the administration repeatedly flaunts and exhorts its students to adhere to. UCLA has taught us to fight injustice whenever it rears its ugly head. We will not idly sit by and watch a beloved professor have his teaching career discarded in a politically-motivated and morally-bankrupt fashion by Chair Kerri Johnson, Dean Laura Gomez, and other administrator-bureaucrats within the school’s ivory towers. We demand that the school treat Professor Fink fairly, which includes restoring his academic freedom, removing Johnson’s arbitrary restrictions on his class size, and, most importantly, administering his Excellence Review in a truthful and just manner. Professor Fink is by all outward measures one of UCLA’s greatest, most popular, and influential professors. If the school ignores our plea and continues to endorse the corrupt dealings in the Department of Communication Studies, they will not only lose one of their most valuable and influential professors but also repel thousands of donors (current and future alike) from supporting this institution.
Petition to UCLA
Start a Think Tank for Millennial Philanthropists at UCLA
Proposed: An organisation that will promote philanthropy amongst millennials, ideally functioning as a “think tank” that utilises the diversity of its members to solve problems at UCLA and in Los Angeles My goal is to create a member body of students and possibly alumni that function with the purpose of utilising their collective interests, experiences, and abilities to find and solve problems within the UCLA community and ideally in Los Angeles. The advantage of having members that are students is that there will be new students, every quarter, from all over the world bringing in new ideas based on their unique experiences. The benefits of this kind of collaboration are twofold, firstly, members have the opportunity to discover their interest in philanthropy – primarily through the donation of their time and dedication – and get in touch with the community around them. Secondly, it will provide members with the chance to network with other students, and through the diversity of the member body learn different approaches to problems. My hope with this organisation is that it will increase diversity in philanthropy whilst allowing millennials to actively engage in the problems of today to make their tomorrow better. Additionally, I want to promote the ideology that diversity is a strength to be encouraged and celebrated, and that only by utilising our differences will we find a different outlook and consequent solution to our problems.
Petition to Portola High School planning team, Northwood High School
Offer Latin classes at Portola High School and Northwood High School!
Ad Cuius Intersit (To Whom It May Concern): As Portola High School prepares to open the doors to its freshman class later this year and Northwood High school gets ready to open its doors to students in future Irvine neighborhoods in the coming years, I am sure that one question that is being considered is what classes will be offered this year and in the future. As someone who had the honor and privilege of being able to take Latin in high school, I strongly recommend that Latin be one of the classes offered. I myself am an alumnus of Woodbridge High, one of the Irvine schools that already offers Latin, and the Latin program’s impact on my life was tremendous. I served as an officer in my Latin club there for two years, and I am now majoring in Greek and Latin at UCLA and pursuing a career as a Latin teacher after I graduate. I am also the president of the California Senior Classical League, a statewide organization, consisting mostly of college students, that seeks to promote the study and appreciation of Greek and Roman civilization, language, and culture. I am certain that Portola and Northwood students can benefit from learning Latin just as I did. Perhaps the most obvious benefit is in academics. Around two thirds of modern English vocabulary is derived from Latin, and of polysyllabic English words, ninety percent come from Latin. A knowledge of Latin vocabulary will, therefore, expand a student’s English vocabulary, which will not only assist on standardized tests such as the SAT, but it will also prepare students to read and write at the collegiate level. Latin vocabulary has also been handed down through the Latin terms and abbreviations that we use in medicine and law. The legal terms “subpoena” and “modus operandi,” for example, are both derived from Latin, as are numerous anatomical terms and abbreviations used in medical instructions. Knowing Latin will give graduating seniors an edge should they decide to pursue the competitive fields of medicine and law. Studying Latin grammar can enhance a student’s ability to think logically. Latin differs from English in that you cannot rely simply on word order to ascertain the meaning of a sentence; when translating Latin, you figure out how the sentences fit together based primarily on the inflectional endings on nouns and verbs. Translating Latin will enable students to look at their own language in a different way and exercise their ability to reason. Portola and Northwood students will not reap only academic benefits from studying Latin, however. Every high school student enrolled in a Greek or Latin course is eligible to join the National Junior Classical League ("NJCL" or simply "JCL"), the largest classics-related organization in the world. NJCL boasts more than 45,000 members and 1,000 chapters worldwide. The NJCL is divided into state chapters, which are then divided into school (local) chapters. Two of the largest and most involved JCL chapters in the country are right in our backyard at Woodbridge High and University High, each of which boasts over 200 JCL members! Membership in the JCL can provide students with skills in leadership and civic engagement on a large scale. Students will be able to help run club events, and they will also be able to run for leadership positions at all three levels: local, state, and national. Additionally, the Junior Classical League is dedicated to community service. The JCL encourages its chapters to carry out (often classics-themed) community service projects in the community. My alma mater (Woodbridge), for instance, had students dress up in Roman togas and walk around Irvine neighborhoods on Halloween, "trick-or-treating" for canned foods to donate to people in need. Projects such as these will help teach students to be good citizens and serve their communities. Portola and Northwood students will also have the opportunity to attend three conventions throughout the course of the year: regional convention, state convention, and national convention. These conventions will allow Portola and Northwood students to meet students from all across California and the United States with whom they share a common interest. Students will also be able to compete at the state and national levels, as all three of these conventions host academic, athletic, and artistic contests. In addition, at these conventions, schools are evaluated based on their overall performance in certain areas. Not only, then, will students be able to make friends from other schools and states, but they will also be able to bond with their own classmates as they compete at conventions. The potential benefits of offering Latin at Portola and Northwood High are endless. I urge you to make the right choice and OFFER LATIN. Signed, Max Emerson Payne President, California Senior Classical League
Petition to University of California Los Angeles, Parking Services at UCLA, Administration of Life Sciences Departments at UCLA
Parking Regulations at UCLA - Graduate Students should be able to park closest to where they work
Parking Services at UCLA has recently banned graduate students from parking in Parking Structure 2, the closest parking structure to the Research Laboratories on South Campus, citing overflow as the major reason. UCLA is an R1 institution, meaning the majority of funding to UCLA comes from research grants. Graduate students are the work horses of the campus, with research bringing in millions of dollars each year. A lot of graduate students work late hours, much later than the normal 9 to 5 pm work day that normal staff, faculty and administration work. Several graduate students work until 7, 8 or 9 pm or even later, which makes it inconvenient for someone to have to walk across campus by themselves that late to get to their car. By not allowing graduate students to park in structure 2 anymore, we have been displaced to parking structures 4, 7 and 3, which are an extra half mile (lots 4, 7) and one mile (lot 3) walk to South Campus. Lots 4 and 7 are mixed lots with only two levels, meaning people from all across campus park here and it is full a lot. Structure 2 has seven floors of parking, which is confusing when administration says there is overflow but they will place us in smaller parking structures. A lot of times when there are special events, permit holders for lot 4 and 7 are displaced at inconvenient times for a Basketball game, Parents Weekend, etc. As paying permit holders, this should not be allowed and UCLA should not be inconveniencing the hardest working group of students on campus; this is unacceptable, especially when Parking Structure 2 is empty on several floors. I received a $64 parking ticket for parking in structure 2 on Friday of Parents weekend after spending almost an hour trying to find a spot in 4, 7, and 8.Administration has tried coming up with solutions for us graduate students:1. Call the Community Service Officers to walk you to your car.Every day? This would get very inconvenient and I shouldn't have to have the concern that campus isn't safe enough to walk across by myself that that is even a suggestion from the administration.2. You can park in Structure 2 after 4:30 pm. You can move your car after hours.When I am in the middle of an experiment, I cannot take 30 minutes to walk to structure 4 or 7 to move my car. It is very inefficient, and while I would like to do this, I can never find the time to leave lab at 4:30 to move my car.3. When there are displacements for special events you can park in any of the other lots specified by UCLA.When I spent 45 minutes circling in Lot 7 and didn't find a spot and then went to 8 and also didn't find a spot, is my only option lot 3 which is a 30 minute walk to lab? When lot 2 is completely empty on the top floor? and if I parked in 8 and left lab after 7, I would have to go pick up my keys from Valet at Ronald Regan Hospital? Such an added stress when there is a lot across the street from my lab. And I have to spend an hour looking for parking spot when I pay for a permit, which will add an extra hour onto my work day in lab. Graduate students are paying for permits out of our own pockets, work the longest hours, and should not have to stress out about the parking situation or have to worry about getting expensive parking tickets. We work so hard to bring good research to UCLA, the least we should be given is respect for parking and not have to worry about safety and adding extra commute time to our already busy schedules! Please sign if you agree and share any stories and experiences you have had since graduate students have not been allowed to park in Structure 2! The photo shown above is a shot of the 7th Level of Structure 2 at 12:15 pm on Tuesday September 15, 2015.