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Cella Chung

CGS 102
Professor Hernandez
25 November 2015

Then Why The F*** Are You Here?: A Manifesto and a Mourning for SPACES that Never Is or Was

I am that over-emotional, overly sensitive,too PC, social justice warrior who wants to put a
trigger warning on the world. At least, to some. When youre not hearing my valid critiques of
anti-blackness, anti-nativeness, anti-queerness in the space, its easy only to notice the volume at
which I speak. While you cower in an undisclosed location in Price Center, fiercely guarding your
damaged egos at our expense, I am fiercely fighting to do the work you refuse to (and arguably never
have).
I have only been employed since September at a location on UCSD campus that
values the power of
student initiated action and organizing by providing an environment for student growth and
development and thus is a foundation to create leadership and unity through community engagement.
I and others have been struggling since the start of our positions this year to retain each other and
provide the answers unavailable from the full-time, salaried figureheads floating phantasmically,
mysteriously, uncatchable and unreliable. More recently, the willful incompetence and negligence has
reached a breaking point. I can only speak on my behalf but my politics are as such:
1. I am committed to addressing systemic and interpersonal oppressions through an
intersectional lens.
2. I am not above reproach, critique, or calling out. My ego is not more important than The
Work.
3. I am deeply invested in self and peer-to-peer education as a liberatory practice. These
knowledges are transgressive and actively obscured and attacked---I open myself as a
resource so that others do not have to.
4. I will continue to demand, unapologetically, the services and support that I as a queer,
disabled woman of color at this institution rightfully deserve. Specifically, I will
determinedly advocate for full-time staff who will not abuse their powers, emotionally
manipulate students, and who actively threaten the retention of marginalized students
for the sake of job security.
5. I condemn the ways in which we are expected, as marginalized students, to perform
the access and retention labor for our entire communities and each other with
negligible systemic support and for minimum wage. This is a practice that indicates
how little the nature of this work is valued, how little we as people are valued, and
how little UCSD as an institution of learning is invested in bringing and retaining

black students, native students, muslim students, queer and trans students, disabled
students, and other students who are and have been systemically and socially
silenced and underrepresented. This is a practice informed by white supremacy and
capitalism. I see this and I reject this.
6. I will never apologize for challenging the space to evolve to become more conscious,
and more invested in an environment and practice that actively critiques the systemic
and interlocking oppressions preventing us from achieving goals of social justice.
7. I am here for my peers. I am here for them. I am here for the black, and native and
QTPOC interns who cyclically resign in higher frequency and volume than the rest of
their cohort. I am not, however, here for the exploitative labor practices, the appalling
lack of transparency, the pitting of interns against each other, the minimum wage, the
etsy banners, the psychological warfare I AM NOT HERE FOR THAT.
8. My politics are informed by the legacies and scholarship of the Others before me---folx
who were Othered and devalued and deemed disposable. I humbly thank them for their
work, for their lives, for their love. I also acknowledge I am not an expert, only just
beginning my work, I am just trying to live.
9. FUCK your respectability politics. FUCK your tone policing. These are regulatory
mechanisms rooted in white supremacy and class elitism. I will SPEAK. And those who
wish and need to speak will speak how they feel is necessary for them.
10. I reject UCSD and its meticulous bureaucracy for preventing accountability and
disregarding nearly a decade of students demanding structural change. I reject how
administration and staff can play the waiting game so that we graduate out. I reject
their ignorant assumption that we do not have institutional memory. Trauma talks. WE
LISTEN.
11. Let this manifesto stand testament as documentation of the violences perpetrated
within SPACES that advertise themselves as student initiated and student run. Let
this paper be a contract to myself that I will never forget these abuses. Let people
read this and know precisely where I stand.
I
have been made to feel crazy and that my insights are invalid precisely because of my increased
awareness and familiarity with social justice theory and praxis. Those in the space who do not have
the privilege as I do to have this knowledge have been confused and intentionally misled. Certain
individuals have intentionally fostered this dynamic to preserve particular interests and freeze any
internal mobilizations for reform. This is my approach to archiving these injustices (as past students
have done, with no response from the institution).

ACTION PLANS AND A LIST OF DEMANDS


1. I will continue to work to retain students in the space, even though I have turned in my letter
of resignation.
2. I will continue to advocate for the removal of abusive and manipulative full time staff.
3. I will do justice to myself and distance myself from the toxicity of this space to heal, knowing
that I will return to do Work.
4. I will advocate for the hiring of competent and committed full time staff who are more
invested in generative politics and not assimilatory or conservative politics.
5. I will educate other students in the space and share my institutional memories with them so
they may contextualize the recent abuses within a larger understanding that we are neither
the first nor last to feel this way. I will also offer myself as a resource to those who DO want
to expand their knowledge and awareness of socially just practices and politics.
6. I will find and collaborate with other students in the space who share my insights and feelings,
and work together with them towards goals of sustainable institutional change.
7. I will join in solidarity the students in leadership positions within the space on whom the
burden of addressing these injustices often fall heavily. We will work with or against the Vice
Chancellors Office of Student Affairs and HR to implement the changes we know are
necessary.
8. I will continue to envision SPACES that can fulfill their promises of socially just access and
retention work and refuse to despair.
FANTASIES
Aspects of reform I fantasize about and what my dreams look like:
1. A space that can have open discussions and generative critique proactively as opposed to as
damage control
2. Actual support from competent full time staff
a. Full time staff that fulfill the duties of their job cards
b. Full time staff that are actually present in the space and available
c. Full time staff that show up for scheduled meetings with interns and SAAC BOD
d. Full time staff that are committed to integrating social justice education with the
praxis we perform
e. Full time staff that dont emotionally manipulate the students
f. Full time staff that take our questions and concerns seriously
g. Full time staff that are not dismissive
3. Full time staff that are not uncomfortable acknowledging systemic legacies of failure and
anti-blackness, anti-nativeness, and anti-queerness and work to implement innovative
strategies to address these issues

4. Full time staff that ask students for their input, knowledge, and solutions without being
exploitative or expecting students to be solely responsible for that labor
5. A restructuring of the space, to eradicate the supposed joint governance that none of us feel
is true and to implement a structure that is more supportive with the assistance of Edwina
Welch and Shawn Travers and Stacia Smith Solomon
6. A pay increase that is competitive and comparable to that of the other Campus Community
Centers. A wage that supports the retention of the interns and is indicative of the valuable
labor we do for our communities
7. Transparent conversations about the historic abuses from the past so that interns can be
aware of the precedents within the space (and envision ways to combat them)
8. Hiring at least 4 full time staff to create sustainable support within the space
a. SAAC BOD and student input must be integrated deeply into the hiring process with
significant deciding powers
9. A suggestions box for folks in the space to be able to request workshops and educational
components about relevant issues such as anti-blackness, transmisogyny, and heterosexism
10. Institutionalization and prioritization of social justice education for staff and interns