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  • Viviane Nguyen

Budget Cuts Slash Signature Programs for the Asian Pacific American Resource Center at UC Berkeley

The UC Berkeley Asian Pacific American Student Development (APASD) Office serves the diverse and changing needs of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities on campus. APASD is an important campus resource center on AAPI issues and events, and provide student development opportunities through collaborations with faculty, staff, students, and student groups.

For the 2016 to 2017 school year, APASD faced unprecedented budget cuts that resulted in the elimination of its signature programs and also defunded work study opportunities for interns. There was a four percent cut from UC Berkeley funding, and on top of that, service fees for the first time were charged for APASD’s basic administrative functions such as website maintenance and phone services. Now with limited resources and no team of students dedicated to programming, difficult cuts had to be made.

On the chopping block is the 8th Annual “Celebration of Asian Pacific American Womyn” (CAPAW), a community advocate program that provides students the opportunity to develop community organizing experiences while working closely with under-resourced, invisible, and under-served AAPI communities at UC Berkeley, and the 27th “Asian Pacific Islander Issues Conference” (APIICON) that started in 1990 and would be canceled this spring but will return for the 2017 to 2018 school year. In addition, APASD was one of the few opportunities on campus that offered work study for student organizers; students may now receive units as compensation.

Previously, a team of 10 to 15 paid student interns affiliated with different Asian Pacific American communities, including Southeast Asian Student Coalition, Pilipino Academic Student Services and Cal Vietnamese Student Association, brought different groups together and organized events throughout the school year. That cross collaboration enabled APASD to serve different Asian Pacific American communities effectively.

The Director of APASD, Dawn Lee Tu, shared that one of the biggest challenges this year in comparison to other years is, being unable to pay students for the work their work as community organizers and event planners for the AAPI communities at UC Berkeley. Both APASD staff members are stretched thin with limited resources, but are tirelessly working to compensate for the cuts.

“APASD has taken a direct hit, and budget cuts have exasperated the issues. Lots can be addressed with resources, but APASD currently does not enough to serve over 40% of the population. These latest cuts cause a ripple effect on the AAPI community is tremendous,” shared Lee Tu.

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Viviane Nguyen She is a lover of politics. She has researched and worked in different levels of government in San Jose, Sacramento, Washington D.C., and Thailand. She is motivated to highlight issues impacting the Vietnamese-American community and Asian American communities at large. She was formerly a Cal-in-Sacramento Fellow at UC Berkeley and notably a Public Policy and International Affairs Fellow at the Goldman School of Public Policy. She wants to write to show why politics, especially in 2016, is important.

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