How dare they?
A reflection on the likelihood we will have to leave our home after this year, if we want to eat.
How dare they?
This administration does not care about California. They do not care about the CSU, and they do not care about this school. This is a stepping stone, from the lower positions they held before to the higher positions or more prestigious universities they hope to join soon. Administrations come and go in three or four or five years; the faculty, the staff, the community, we are the ones who stay for ten, twenty, thirty years, as long as we are able, as long as we are allowed.
I am a third generation Californian, on both sides. My great grand-parents came from Ontario, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Beruit, many places far and wide, and set down roots deep in this promise land, and two of my grandparents were born here, and all of their children, and all of their children, and even most of theirs, after them. I'm the first on my mother's side to even leave spitting distance of the counties my grandmothers were born in before me, since they got here. I was born in this state, raised here, and wish to die here, when it comes to it. This is an amazing and precious place, a resource and a garden, fierce and beautiful.
The CSU is a treasure, too, that belongs to us, here, in California--a proud and lovely creation of our proud and lovely state, to be defended at all costs. Myself and my cousins, my mother and my aunts who were first generation college students, come down from farmers and sailors and soldiers who valued the educations they didn't get, and strove to learn, and impressed upon us all the value of learning, of schooling, we are all products of the CSU when we couldn't have afforded anything else and couldn't have hoped for anything as wonderful.
How dare they push me out of my home? How dare they push my family out of the CSU? We, who had California and the CSU in our blood and our bones before we could read, and who know in our blood and our bones what a treasure we have?
And more important than blood ties are the ties of choosing. My partner adopted California and the CSU, and now has come to love them, now that he has been here 11 years--twice as long as the President of the university, and well over ten times as long as the interim Provost, and three times as long as the Provost before him. Those who have settled here--have meant to make their lives, here--have learned the best of it, have learned the pride and wonder, have taken it up as surely as those of us who knew it all along. And those of us with California in our veins and in the sweet earth of our flesh who have chosen to stay, have learned such awe-filled love, cannot be uprooted. If my body goes, the best of me is still here, longing for the paradise that is this place.
We want to stay. We want to be let to cherish this state, this system, to feed it and better it and make it stronger, ever stronger, ever safer from assaults from the short-sighted and far-reaching. We want to guard it and let it bloom ever brighter.
How dare they push us out, these come-latelies and leave-soons? How dare they take that wicked sword and cleave us from our homes, maim and dismember our universities as if they were nothing more than paper accounts and spools of ugly numbers? How dare they attempt to destroy what has taken us so many generations and so many hearts and so many commitments to build, as if it was theirs to crush? How dare they not lay down their bodies and their swords and their money to defend this?
How dare they?
When they take the CSU--when they cut away the teachers, the programs, the connections we cling to--and force us out, cast us to the wind, tetherless, they destroy more than a tradition, more than some quaint way of doing things, outdated or perverse. They destroy wonders. They destroy monuments and lives and blood oaths and sacred connections to a precious thing far grander than they. When we find a new place to live and work, I will still be homeless, because I will have been cut from my home, the home of my blood and the home of my choosing, the home where my heart and my head and my body have found perfect place, my home of ages. And when they are gone, tired of their broken toy, eager to find new systems to "restructure" and "improve," their damage will lay bloody and mangled and glaring behind them in the sun, for California and her lost, scattered children, blood and adopted alike, to mourn.
How dare they?