Letters to the Editor

    Health and safety primary co-op concern


    As part of my responsibility in Student Affairs, I have been working with the co-ops and the Associated Students and Graduate Student Association to bring the co-op negotiations to a viable conclusion. It has been a continuing challenge, but the administration at UCSD wants very much to try and find a workable solution.

    Our primary concern is for the health and safety of students. There have been dangerous violations of operating codes. Although some of the information you have heard in the last few months has not conveyed that very well, it is a critical component of these issues. Much of the current discrepancy is as a result of sub-standard business practices that have created an unsafe and unhealthy environment within the co-op area.

    The health and safety violations include unauthorized modifications to indoor and outdoor spaces by an unlicensed electrician and unauthorized major kitchen remodeling by an unlicensed trade person. The University Centers staff corrected these alterations because they presented hazardous conditions that may have resulted in electric shock or fire.

    Additionally, in the garden area within the park, unauthorized tapping into the university’s irrigation system and continuous watering resulted in the loss of thousands of gallons of water. Most significantly, waste has been disposed of dangerously, at one point causing injury to a student.

    It is time to find some common ground, correct these problem areas, and develop a contract that is acceptable to the co-ops, the students and the university. I would like to encourage all those students that are interested in the co-op situation and a safe retail and social environment to talk with their Associated Students and Graduate Student Association representatives about what needs to be done to bring this to an acceptable resolution.

    We want to support an entrepreneurial university environment that values and fosters creative learning experiences, including the management of student run businesses, such as the co-ops. But unless we all agree that certain business practices will be adhered to, we will continue to be at an impasse. The university does not want to be on hold. We want to find a solution, but we cannot legally or knowingly condone sub-par business practices.

    I hope you all will do what you can to work with us toward a solution that supports a well-run co-op system that provides the same goods and services that are appreciated within the community while protecting the health and safety of students.

    — Carmen Vazquez

    Assistant Vice Chancellor of Student Life

    Statewide cuts force tough decisions


    As UCSD deals with statewide and University of California-wide budget challenges, we are pleased to announce that we have reached a workable solution on the very important issue of outreach funding, although we did have to face some tough decisions.

    Over the past two years, outreach programs in the University of California have experienced funding reductions in excess of 50 percent. Fortunately, in working together with the Office of the President in an effort to respond to a number of priorities, we have developed an approach that maintains the integrity and effectiveness of the programs, in a fiscally responsible way, within the current statewide budget limitations.

    Through consideration of campus priorities, systemwide guidelines, and community concerns and recommendations, UCSD has developed an allocation that places priority on the Preuss School, Community College Transfer Center, and Early Academic Outreach Program.

    As a consequence of these priorities and the lack of funding, major reductions in funding for student-initiated outreach, graduate and professional school programs and Center for Research on Educational Equity, Assement and Teaching Excellence had to be made.

    By reallocation of our limited outreach funding, we have been able to increase by 65 percent the permanent budget of EAOP from its 2003-04 level. Accomplishing that increase, however, required a reduction of the permanent budget for the Community College Transfer Program. In order to protect this very important outreach program, other campus funds have been allocated so that the funding level for 2004-05 can be maintained at last year’s level. In addition, CREATE will have funding reinstated for outreach evaluation.

    The outreach reductions have created a very serious funding shortfall for Preuss School. The state outreach allocation that has funded the three components that constitute the core of the Preuss “”experiment”” — longer school day, longer school year, and smaller classes — as well as the transportation costs for the students to be able to come to Preuss, has been reduced in half. Consequently, we are pleased that the Office of the President has indicated a willingness to increase the UCSD P-16 Partnership allocation for Preuss School.

    This has been a very complex process. We appreciate everyone’s effort and commitment in bringing this difficult funding situation to a workable conclusion. It is not a perfect solution, and we wish that we had additional funding to adequately support all of the outreach programs.

    In summary, the reductions in excess of 50 percent in state support for outreach programs have required a careful evaluation of our priorities as we strive to continue UCSD’s longstanding commitment to outreach and service to our community.

    — Joseph W. Watson

    Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs

    Prop. 71 endorsed by all-star group


    Proposition 71 has recently picked up the endorsements of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and former President Jimmy Carter just last week.

    They join a diverse and large coalition of supporters that include the deans of all the UC medical schools (excepting UC Davis’ new dean who remains to be confirmed by the UC Regents). Stanford Dean of Medicine Phil Pizzo, USC Dean of Medicine Brian Henderson, California Institute of Technology President David Baltimore, and UC San Francisco Chancellor J. Michael Bishop back this humane measure.

    Proposition 71 guarantees $3 billion over the next 14 years to fund stem cell research that has the potential to treat or cure over 70 degenerative diseases. To protect our state economy, the proposition defers repayment of interest and bond principal for five years. This proposition not only has huge scientific implications but, for students in particular, restrictive federal policy challenges our intellectual freedom.

    This measure has been endorsed by more than 20 Nobel laureates in the life sciences; by scientific and medical associations and California budget analysts; by Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, juvenile diabetes, spinal cord injury, and many additional patient advocacy organizations; by the American Nurses Association of California, the California chapter of the National Organization for Women, and Hadassah.

    — Christine Ku

    Californians for Stem Cell Research and Cures

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