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Asian Studies at UC Irvine

June 21, 1993

Regarding your editorial (June 12) about acting Chancellor L. Dennis Smith deserving credit for "Keeping the Lid On" at UC Irvine: As one of the student organizers at UCI, I must disagree.

Is it true Dr. Smith authorized negotiations, but he certainly did not deserve the credit for "working out" an agreement. The students never even met with Smith. As a matter of fact, when the students first reached his office, we were told he was not in and could not be reached. We contended that it was impossible for a chancellor of a university not to be reached. It was later confirmed that we were in fact lied to.

A second reason why Smith does not deserve any credit is because all throughout negotiations he was conveniently not available. If anyone deserves credit for listening to our points and concerns it would be M. Anne Spence, vice chancellor of academic programs, and Horace Mitchell, vice chancellor of student affairs and campus life. While staging a fast outside the administration for 35 days, the students received numerous visits from many administrators who at least expressed concern. Smith, however, failed to show any concern; we were simply ignored.

A third reason Smith does not deserve credit is because if the university had been proactive rather than reactive in establishing Asian-American studies, then students would not have protested. He should have voluntarily lived up to his promise to hire four professors for Asian-American studies instead of being forced to.

I feel if anyone should deserve credit for "keeping the lid on" it would be Spence, Mitchell and the students. The Times was correct in that the channels of communication were open but it was wrong in assuming that channels were open with Smith.


Asian Pacific Student Assn.

UC Irvine

I would like to address, once more, the student demands for Chicano and Asian studies at our universities--any universities. Here we have people who have come to this country for the so-called reasons that they have been "oppressed," are "seeking political asylum," or they are simply seeking a better way of life than they had. Why is it that now that they are here they suddenly feel so much yearning to know about what they have run away from? Why, when they say they want to be U.S. citizens, must they be allowed to make these demands as they parade and cause unrest while waving the flags of foreign countries?

I cannot imagine that any other country in the world would even consider such ridiculous assumptions by any group of immigrants. They do, of course, have the right to pursue any studies they want, but not the right to demand that such studies be subsidized by the taxpayers of their "chosen" country.



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