A Steamed USF Student

The Facebook site for Save KUSF (San Francisco, link on right), now some 8,700 strong, continues to mount a feisty campaign to wrest their famed station away from the forces of Southern California evil. Posted recently on their site was a link to this letter:

An open letter to Father Stephen Privett and the USF community,

As a third year student at USF I am probably not the first to quietly comment on the lack of leadership that has taken place on campus over the past three months. During this semester alone USF has been brought up in a negative light more times than I have ever seen our little university in the media at all. Here’s just a short reminder of what we have seen happen on our campus since January.

We seemed to have kicked the semester off very literally by kicking our thirty four year old radio station as well as its volunteers (and students) out of the studio over winter break. This was done without even alerting students and even more importantly the media studies faculty who are in charge of teaching students on the subject of audio production as well as radio. Within weeks I saw our university get mentioned on the front pages of not just obscure indie music blogs but the indie music pack leader Pitchfork, a cover story on the SF Bay Guardian, coverage in SF Weekly, a story in The Los Angeles Times and as of just this past week an article in the Sunday edition of The New York Times!

I understand that current times are tough and sometimes a university needs to cut some assets for the greater good, but while the campus was all riled up over the sale of our FM radio station I was more disgusted to see what other “fat” USF was trimming from it’s budget… The Upward Bound program! According to the USF student newspaper The Foghorn, “University administrators have decided not to renew the federal grant that funds USF’s Upward Bound chapter, a college preparatory program for high school students.” The federally funded program which reaches out to underrepresented low income high school students who without the program may not have the opportunity of attending college without the program was told to find a new location. As a Jesuit institution that has spent so much time, effort and paper leaflets pushing the values of social justice on it’s students, faculty, and visiting families I am appalled to see this grant not get renewed over a few summer school classrooms. (Which is the official reason on why the program was not renewed)

My third call for alarm was this past Friday in which I noticed six victims of sex abuse protesting in front of our beloved St. Ignatius Church. Walking past the group, I shrugged them off as just a group of upset victims traveling from parish to parish until later that day I read the story in The Bay Citizen which described the University’s “failure to expose a now-convicted predatory pedophile priest who used to teach on campus.” I was shocked to see how even skeletons in the university’s closet from thirty years ago are just now coming out of the wood work on campus and giving soon to be graduating students yet another reason to fear future employers Googling their alma mater.

My final gripe which may be the one that breaks that camel’s hypothetical back is the big issue that the university seems to try and hide to current students and especially families who tour the school which is the lack of campus housing as well as the Office of Resident Life’s willingness to do anything about it.

To be honest I was lucky enough to find a decently affordable place extremely close to campus as well as be fortunate enough to have parents who agreeded to sign a lease for three twenty year olds with no real credit and their first apartment. What is disheartening though is the amount of young students who found out yesterday that they will not have a place to live on campus for their sophomore year at USF. When I first toured the university the big housing draw that parents liked to hear was USF guaranteed housing on campus for the first year years of college and after that you could stay on campus if housing permitted or if you wanted to opt in on one of the on-campus apartment style units in Loyola Village.

This mass exodus from on campus housing is being done in part to make way for a larger class of 2015 who will be freshman on campus this upcoming fall. How is the university going to be able to handle such a large influx of students when the university can barley keep it’s current student population happy and content while their tuition rates continue to be raise?

Throughout the hallways and near department water coolers all over campus students, faculty, and staff are beginning to notice the disconnect between the administration and the true USF community who is now starting to feel neglected. We are also noticing a true lack of leadership and just decision making in you Father Privett and the Board of Trustees who seem to be the only ones on campus who seemed to have forgot what a Jesuit Institution is all about.

Until positive changes are made on campus I refuse to donate to the university post graduate. I urge all current students, alumni, faculty and staff reading this to please forward this letter to everyone and anyone you can. Even though this may be one of the university’s darkest hours we can change this. Don’t be afraid to speak up and let the administration know that you are not okay with the leadership at USF!

Yours Truly,

A concerned Media Studies student (thankfully) graduating December 2011

And worth a look is a link to this clever vid on YouTube, “San Francisco Hates USC’s Guts for Killing KUSF — Part 2,” wherein the hero asks, “Why are you sneaking around buying so many community radio stations?” The answer: “Out of the goodness of my academic heart. I’m on a mission to preserve classical music everywhere I go.” That, of course, doesn’t sit well. Well worth the listen.

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2 Responses

  1. Valid points, but lots of errors (“agreeded”?) makes me wonder where you learned to write. Sounds like the educational system has failed you for a long time.

  2. Back in the 1970s, if I recall correctly, the Daily Californian student newspaper at UC Berkeley cut its ties to the administration and moved off campus. I don’t know whether the estrangement was ever resolved, but it seems as if a similar thing might be done with the campus radio station, under the umbrella of recently-enacted legislation that directs the FCC to allow for more community FM radio stations. Student and faculty refugees of KUSF could form a non-profit group to act as official licensee, and then petition the FCC for a station of their very own, which would continue the KUSF tradition, albeit on a different channel and with different call letters. If protesters put as much effort into pursuing a radio station of their own as they put into excoriating USF and USC, perhaps they would succeed and return the USF student voice to the airwaves.

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