I am a part-time student at San Francisco City College. During a recent class, our instructor went around the room handing out copies of a letter from the dean of the Castro Valencia campus. When asked, he said he had been told to distribute them. This letter asked students to help fund a partisan effort to lobby against budget reforms currently being proposed by the governor of California.
As a student and a taxpayer, I expect City College to be run in a politically neutral, unbiased manner. Both the salaries of City College officials, and the budget of the college itself, are paid for by California taxpayers of all political persuasions. Therefore college officials have an obligation not to engage in lobbying students for self-serving political agendas. They also have an obligation not to pressure college employees (instructors or other staff members) into promoting controversial political views that these personnel may not agree with. While the letter was unsigned and on plain paper rather than official letterhead, the dean listed his official title and gave the impression that he was speaking on behalf of the college.
This was clearly an inappropriate use of class time and college personnel. If college resources were used to pay for the copies, that was inappropriate as well. Just because students attend City College does not necessarily mean that we all support the state continuing to take large amounts of money from taxpayers to fund our continuing education. Does the phrase "Not In Our Name!" ring a bell? I don't consider it fair either that working people who have never been to college are taxed to pay for people like myself and my fellow students who are lucky enough to attend classes.
The dean's letter also mentioned that the Castro Valencia campus Mixed Media class, along with students from other college campuses, is working on an art project which will be used to protest the budget reforms. I hope the Guardsman will investigate whether students who disagree with the political agenda of this project may have felt obliged to participate in order to protect their grades and their ability to function as part of the classes involved, and whether any other college personnel have been involved in inappropriate lobbying of students, misuse of college resources for partisan political purposes, or other related abuses of their positions.
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San Francisco, CA 94114