From the CFA Executive Board:
The California Faculty Association (CFA) likes to refer to the CSU as the “People’s University.” We know that “we are, we teach the 99%” and that, in California, this includes many of the children and grandchildren of people who were legally excluded from full participation in public education at all levels by virtue of their racial ethnic group membership in California history. We also know that we bear the legacy of that abysmal history and that it lives on with us in unconscious and fully conscious attitudes and practices that promote white supremacy through a discourse that naturalizes the prevalence of both white managers and practices that reproduce white power over us. We also know that it is only when the people move to force the power structure to listen to us that we make change. This is also a legacy—of the CSU! This is the university system that witnessed the movements to create the first Black Student Union and the first Ethnic Studies programs. But these changes and these programs cannot be sustained without persistent pressure on the “powers that be.” It is often difficult for major group members to fathom the value of participation by the underrepresented—they may be more likely to see themselves as doing a favor for those who do, in fact, have much of value to bring to the academy.
On our campus it was the efforts of those who knew we needed someone on the level of the Executive Council to lead campus efforts to examine bias, to see the white clouds that obscure our worth and value as people of color, and to support the campus community in efforts to address social oppression, particularly that of race and ethnicity, gender and sexualities, disabilities and religion, and nationality. Enter Arturo Ocampo, engineer of a series to bring us together in “Conversations that Matter” and in bold programs to direct our hirings toward inclusion of the underrepresented groups we claim to serve on this campus. Arturo Ocampo who, though not elevated to Vice President, still pushed bravely to help us realize the promise of ongoing projects such as “diversity training” for all faculty hirings and the “SJEP”—Social Justice and Equity Program that has supported and sustained a good many staff and faculty projects.
The Executive Board of the CFA takes this opportunity to call upon the campus community to join us in condemning the termination of Arturo Ocampo and the restructuring of his Office in a move reminiscent of the recent restructuring of Community Service Learning but with far more dire consequences. Arturo was clearly of the people and for the people and we had a staunch advocate in him, one willing to fearlessly carry the torch for greater social justice—a term appropriated into meaninglessness on our campus amid such moves as this recent one.