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Protest Over Chicano Studies

May 21, 1993

The Charles Young administration at UCLA has demonstrated that authority without institutional logic or moral suasion can act with unappealable force. Despite compelling arguments for a Chicano studies department, and deep and wide support by faculty and a generation of students, Chancellor Young has once again denied a petition supporting its establishment, leaving no possibility for appeal. When students supporting the department demonstrated against the chancellor's decision, 84 were arrested by an LAPD force armed with helicopters, special units and 200 police officers (May 12).

Encouraged by trembling UCLA administrators, the LAPD pointed to a few broken windows, and without proof, summarily arrested and charged more than 80 students under grossly excessive felony vandalism charges.

The sum of this situation is this: The LAPD has its old tricks, UCLA has its peculiar arrogance, and the students have a moral position validated by a generation of struggle and by sacrifice.

The rest of us argue for common sense in a troubled city and a staggering university. How do we create this sense? A generation of Latinos think that we need to understand ourselves and each other, and that a Chicano studies department at UCLA is one of right vehicles for creating such understanding. It is time that these matters be negotiated over a table in good faith.

JUAN GOMEZ QUINONES

Professor of History, UCLA

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