To Whom It May Concern:
It has come to my attention from members of the UCSD community that Thurgood Marshall College’s core writing program, Dimensions of Culture (DOC), has been failing to live up to its critical mission and purpose at UCSD. The roots of the program—in modeling critical thinking, in interrogating dominant ideologies, in providing a safe space for underrepresented minorities and their experiences—have been thoroughly and deliberately abandoned. In its current form, the content of DOC lectures, run by faculty whose areas of specialization bear little relationship to the curriculum, barely passes as coherent, academically sound scholarship. The failures of the program are connected to larger issues of UCSD’s failure to model campus-wide diversity in faculty, staff and student populations, and to ward off the pervasive anti-intellectualism infecting liberal arts curricula around the country.
I am writing to endorse the Lumumba-Zapata Coalition’s demands to reverse the course of the Dimensions of Culture Program and hold a public meeting regarding these issues. In addition, I ask that Thurgood Marshall College and Dimensions of Culture administration immediately reinstate the two teaching assistants whose contacts were not renewed on account of their outspoken leadership to improve the program. The administration’s longtime practices of strong-arming, harassment, and intimidation have finally gone too far; their active suppression of dissent is alarming. These tactics are bitterly ironic in the face of Dimensions of Culture’s alleged commitment to social justice, and they reveal how extensively DOC leadership has failed to embody the spirit of the program.
As one of the most well-respected research institutions in the country, UCSD has an important obligation to model the highest level of scholarship and teaching in all its programs, to preserve vital space for intellectual debate and academic freedom, and to uphold its commitment to fair employment practices—the Dimensions of Culture program should be no exception to these standards.