Monday, August 10, 2009

UCI Students & Alumni Organize to Save SAAS!

Photo credit: Daniel C. Tsang © 2009
Irvine -- Citing budget woes, the University of Calfiornia, Irvine has moved to eliminate a key federally funded student services resource, effective August 31, 2009. After three decades of its existence, UCI administrators plan to eliminate the Student Academic Advancement Services Student Academic Advancement Services and lay off its entire staff. The office serves first-generation, low-income and disabled students, and runs the well-known Summer Bridge Program for incoming UCI first-year and transfer students meeting program criteria. The planned closure and layoffs were announced by Undergraduate Education Dean Sharon Salinger 30 July 2009.

As a result, students and alumni have organized to oppose this drastic move by the UCI administrators. We talk with recent UCI graduates Debbie Lee, who started a Facebook page, Save SAAS at UCI Now! and Luz Colin, about what one can do to reverse this retrograde act.

The show airs from 9-10 a.m. 10 August 2009 on KUCI, 88.9 fm in Orange County, California, and is simulcast via

Bios of our guests:

Deborah Lee

As a first generation college student and product of the Student Academic Advancement Services (SAAS), Deborah Lee (left in photo) recently graduated Magna Cum Laude with a major in Criminology, Law and Society in the School of Social Ecology. In addition to graduating with honors, as a junior, Deborah was also nominated by the UCI Faculty and administration into UCI's National Honors Society, Phi Beta Kappa. Only 1% of juniors are nominated each year. She has also been awarded the President's Service Award for Outstanding Community Service. Deborah's involvement on campus also include: UCI Cheer Squad, Middle Earth Community Service Committee, Alpha Phi Omega (Community Service Fraternity), UCDC, Travel Study, Social Ecology's Mentor-Mentee Program, Criminology Outreach Program, SAAS, and much more. Within SAAS, she has been a peer advisor for three years and her involvement with Summer Bridge includes being a Resident Assistant and also the Head Resident Advisor. She plans on attending a tier-one law school in Fall 2010 with the academic and personal support she has received from SAAS, including a scholarship they have provided with the Princeton Review.

Luz Colin

Luz Colin (right in photo) is a 2008 graduate from UCI with a B.A. in political science and Chicano/Latino studies. This past June, she completed a Masters in Arts in Higher Education and Organizational Change (HEOC) at UCLA's Graduate School of Education. Luz currently works as a research analyst for the Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) also at UCLA. Luz believes that her success is a result of the support she received from SAAS beginning with Summer Bridge and her entire time as an undergraduate at UCI. SAAS gave her the confidence to get involved and was a Peer Advisor for 2 years and was a Summer Bridge Assistant Head Resident Advisor for three years. She was also actively involved with Alpha Phi Omega (a service fraternity). She still comes back to SAAS as an alum to talk about her experiences with the new SAAS students. Her research focuses on first generation/low-income students like herself and hopes to one day return to UCI and work with this population.

To listen to the 10 August 2009 show, click here: .

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