Sit-In Protests UCI's Closure of Programs for Low-Income Students

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Tuition increases, class closures, hiring freezes, employee furloughs and even wacky proposals to close campuses have received the lion's share of media attention regarding the unprecedented fiscal hit taken by the world-envied University of California system.

One casualty that has received scant attention beyond the UC Irvice campus is Student Academic Advancement Services (SAAS), U.S. Department of Education-funded programs aimed at increasing retention and graduation rates among first-generation, low-income students.

Supporters of SAAS at UCI aim to end the media blackout with a good old-fashioned, overnight sit-in.

 

The closure is announced in a letter from dean Sharon V. Salinger on the Division of Undergraduate Education website, which informs a permanent 16 percent budget cut to her division resulted in the decision to end SAAS effective Aug. 31, although attempts will be made to partner with other units on campus to continue some services.

The DUE will still have a physical presence on campus, with a professional staff of mentors, writes Salinger, who vows tutoring, career planning, academic counseling and study-skills workshops will continue. 

"The unit's closure is a regrettable consequence of these budgetary times," she writes. "DUE is confident that students still will receive excellent support through vibrant programs and the commitment of professional staff and faculty."

Such assurances do not satisfy organizers of the "SAAS Love" sit-in scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. Sept. 21 and continue through 4 p.m. Sept. 22 in the SAAS office.

More details are available on their Facebook page.

There is also a YouTube video on SAAS and former Weekly contributor Dan Tsang's broadcast about the closure on his KUCI-FM Subversity program.

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