Monday, January 11, 2010

A.R.E. OPEN LETTER TO THE PEOPLES COLLEGE OF LAW

A.R.E. OPEN LETTER TO THE PEOPLES COLLEGE OF LAW
RE: DISCRIMINATORY ADMISSIONS POLICIES REGARDING UNDOCUMENTED STUDENTS

privatization = segregation, immigrant rights = workers rightsJanuary 8, 2010

Dear Peoples College of Law,

The Association of Raza Educators (A.R.E.) applauds your efforts to "bring legal resources to under-represented communities and train legal advocates to secure progressive social change and justice in society." [1] Furthermore, we are pleased to hear that progressive attorneys and advocates for the disenfranchised have come from your ranks. We embrace your stated goals of recruiting progressive law students who "have demonstrated a commitment to progressive social change."

However, we have received notice that an otherwise qualified student is currently denied admission to your school by virtue her immigration status. The Association of Raza Educators implores you to open your admissions to all students, regardless of immigration status, and pro-actively recruit working class, raza students who demonstrate not only progressive politics but a true commitment and record of advocacy for the rights of the disenfranchised.

There are an estimated 65,000 undocumented students that graduate from U.S. high schools each year, the bulk of whom have lived in the country for more than five years and are of Latino/a descent. Federal funds are denied to them, as are the majority of private scholarships. Yet a select few of these students, assisted by AB540 in California, have navigated through higher education, are now graduating, and seek to further their studies as social workers, teachers, attorneys, doctors, etc. Moreover, in your current admissions application, these immigrant students, despite being fully qualified and aligned with PCL's progressive mission, are denied admissions to PCL. Despite official PCL statements such as, "At the present time we are only able to take permanent residents, green cards or social security numbers," [2] or "All students at PCL as well as every other law school in California must register with the California Bar as a law student and this requires the student to have a legal right to be in the US," [3] undocumented students are, however, permitted to attend other accredited and unaccredited law schools and are doing so in increasing numbers. [4]

After repeated attempts by A.R.E. members and others to bring this issue to the PCL Board, the Association of Raza Educators now demands that this student, and others who may have been denied admissions to PCL, be formally notified that admissions to the Peoples College of Law is open to all students regardless of their immigrant status. Further, given the unsubstantiated statements by PCL Board members regarding why they cannot admit undocumented students, we are requesting that a letter of apology be written immediately to this student. Finally, we strongly suggest that PCL Board members and admissions staff receive cultural sensitivity training in working with undocumented students. We have every reason to believe that the way the situation is being handled, and the way PCL representatives have interacted with this student, discount the psychological terrorism that undocumented immigrants repeatedly encounter with school administrators and officials who many times do not understand their situation nor are looking out for their interests.

Sincerely,

The Association of Raza Educators, Los Angeles Chapter

NOTES
[1] General Information About Peoples College of Law. http://peopleslaw.pbworks.com/about
[2] Formal email response by Interim Administrator to prospective applicant asking about the Social Security Number requirement on the Peoples College of Law admissions application, dated June 24, 2009.
[3] Formal email response by PCL Admissions Committee representative, dated September 22, 2009.
[4] The pretext that undocumented students are not allowed to take the California Bar is unwarranted, given the California Bar's official statement that "there is no requirement of citizenship or residency" to practice law in California. See
http://search.calbar.ca.gov/search?start=0&restrict=&client=default_frontend&site=public_collection&output=xml_no_dtd&num=10&filter=1&ie=&lr=&oe=&proxystylesheet=default_frontend&q=cache:BR8kpVocRNoJ:http://calbar.ca.gov/calbar/pdfs/admissions/Outside-Ed-Qualif.pdf+residency+requirement

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4 comments:

Robert D. Skeels * rdsathene said...

This would never had happened at PCL in the past. However, since many board members are now business friendly, privatization pushers, poverty pimps, and democratic party operatives, you can see a right wing influence beginning to taint a once vaunted institution. Oppressing immigrants in part and parcel the kind of self-colonization that many Latinos in the orbit of the Democratic party exhibit. Monica Garcia, Yolie Flores-Aguilar, Veronica Melvin, Maria Casillas, Jarad Sanchez, and Mary Najara are all examples of this sad phenomena.

Take Antonio Villargaigosa, who attended PCL, but is now the biggest privatization advocate around. Whether he's terrorizing the homeless with his vicious SCI program, selling out the South Central Farm to filthy rich right wing developers, or giving public schools to the insatiably greedy CMO charter-voucher sector, the Mayor is a sad example of how even PCL's direction is no longer even progressive, much rather revolutionary.

While Villaraigosa tries to associate himself with his token progressive past including PCL and CASA, his real allegiances are with ruthless developers, union bashers, and the CMO filth like Ben Austin and Marco Petruzzi.

webmaster said...

PEOPLE'S COLLEGE OF LAW SUCKS

To recommend immigrant students to the People's College of Law would be doing them an injustice and placing them into debt with little hope of becoming an attorney.

PCL has one of the worst pass rates in the nation. I suggest you look at their pass rate at the California Bar and you will be shocked.

Anonymous said...

A.R.E. is dishonest ... that alleged applicant simply made initial inquiries and has never applied and therefore has NO STATUS. This is typical of unsophisticated emotional reactionary organizations. I checked the BAR passage rate for PCL .. it's over 50% this last year...

Robert D. Skeels * rdsathene said...

I find it highly suspect that anyone from A.R.E. made the statement about P.C.L.'s passage rate with The State Bar of California. In fact, I doubt the "webmaster" comment was made by a progressive activist at all -- it sounds like a minuteman or other klan affiliated person might have made them.

If anonymous had taken the time to read the original letter from A.R.E., they;'d find their own comments laughable at best, and disingenuous at worst.

I respect both A.R.E. and P.C.L. and find them both sophisticated organizations fighting for oppressed working peoples. A.R.E.'s concerns, and for that matter mine as well, are that P.C.L. allowed both corporate friendly and self-colonizing board members to place opportunism in front of principles.

Calling an organization like A.R.E. "reactionary" is the height of low comedy. How could you possibly be serious? They do amazing work in our communities and aren't entirely bought off like many other organizations in this town. What are your immigrant rights credentials anonymous?