Students Protest Restructuring of IAS Division

Photo: Support IAS Coalition members engage Associate Vice Chancellor Robert Price (bottom right) in a debate over the restructure as they protest outside California Hall on Wednesday.
Nathan Yan/Staff
Support IAS Coalition members engage Associate Vice Chancellor Robert Price (bottom right) in a debate over the restructure as they protest outside California Hall on Wednesday.

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More than 40 students lined up outside California Hall on Wednesday afternoon to set up an appointment to discuss the restructuring of the International and Area Studies division.

Organized by the recently formed Support IAS Coalition, students tried to individually set up appointments with Chancellor Robert Birgeneau in an attempt to increase student input in the restructuring decision.

According to senior and coalition member Nick DeGroot, the group's concern was the lack of transparency and communication with students and faculty members in the decision to restructure the division, although Birgeneau has said their opinions were considered.

"At the core, we just want our voices to be heard, and those voices to be valued," said sophomore and coalition member Jacob Hagelberg.

Executive Vice Chancellor George Breslauer announced the restructuring on March 12 in a campuswide e-mail, stating that the division and its programs would be moved under the Institute of International Studies and the dean's position would be replaced by the director of the institute.

"The executive vice chancellor consulted with 40 faculty and staff," said campus spokesperson Janet Gilmore. "I would hope that as (the coalition members) get additional information about the reorganization, they will realize that the goal is to strengthen IAS's voice."

Breslauer said he will meet with coalition members to discuss their efforts.

DeGroot said Wednesday's demonstration was just the beginning of the coalition's efforts, and that he was excited by the turnout.

"We decided that we're going to do this at least once a week," he said. "We formed a direct action team, and we want everybody to get involved with that."

On Tuesday, the coalition also delivered a 1,300 signature petition addressed to Birgeneau and Breslauer objecting to the restructuring process.

"We're hoping that, at the very least, they will be willing to listen to us," said IAS graduate student and coalition member James Buck. "If nothing else, it would be a great show of respect if EVCP Breslauer would reach out to us."

DeGroot said he expected support against the restructure decision to grow, and had already scheduled a similar demonstration for next week.

"We're feeling each other out, testing each other's boundaries," he said.


Contact Mihir Zaveri at [email protected]

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