USF Dissolves Popular College-Prep Program for Low-Income Students

Categories: Education
Will there be a sequel?
After pulling the plug on its popular college radio station, the University of San Francisco is now shutting out another campus fixture: the Upward Bound Program.

Since 1966, the college-prep program has helped low-income and minority high school students in San Francisco get into college. It's Web site brags that 90 percent of high school students who complete the program go on to college. But now USF has evicted Upward Bound from its campus, effective next year.

Students and faculty, who are shocked and outraged, are staging a protest on March 3, calling on the university to reverse its decision. University officials have not returned our phone call, but students say USF is kicking the program out to make more space for its own summer school enrollment.

"This is really an eviction," said Kimberly Glanville, a USF student who is helping to organize the protest. "We need USF students to show they are upset about this."

Upward Bound, which is funded through the federal government, has enjoyed a long partnership with the university up until now; dialogue with administrators over this issue has been futile, students say.

This year, more than 130 high school students are enrolled in the program, and 80 of them will stay in the campus dorms this summer. The program provides counselors as well as teachers to help students make up courses and prepare for college. With heavy state budget cuts coming down the pike and a reduction in summer school classes at in San Francisco high schools, it's the wrong time to get rid of Upward Bound, Glanville said.

"No student was informed of this decision," she said. "There has been no consideration of the process. They need USF -- it's been a second home to these kids

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April 15, 2011

Dear USF Community, I am happy to announce that USF has agreed to continue its sponsorship of the Upward Bound program, and that we will continue a relationship which started more than 40 years ago. For many weeks now, we have been working behind the scenes to secure the future of the program. In a meeting today, we forged a genuine partnership with the community, and agreed to form an advisory board that will provide Upward Bound with a new level of oversight and accountability. The Board will help assure the quality of the student experience and help guide the overall direction and management of the program. Key faculty have agreed to integrate Upward Bound into teaching/learning and research, and to become directly involved in the program. USF will provide classrooms as they are available, with the understanding that an administrative office and some classrooms will need to be located in the San Francisco community. Everyone benefits from this arrangement: the program, the community, and the university. Participating in today’s meeting were faculty and students from the USF School of Education, representatives from the San Francisco religious community and the USF administration, Chuck Smith, Vice Chair of USF’s Board of Trustees and Joe Marshall, USF alumnus and Trustee Emeritus. I want to thank these dedicated and hard-working individuals for helping us in this important work. I also applaud our students, staff and faculty who champion social justice and the rights of the less privileged. This goes to the heart of USF’s mission and rich history. I believe USF is a good place with a good heart. There are many important details to be worked out, but today’s agreement signals a fresh start for Upward Bound, and for its relationship with USF and the community of San Francisco. I am proud to be part of this university. Mary J. WardellAssociate Vice Provost for Diversity and Community Engagement

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