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The University of California -- Merced (UCM) spent $80,000 in a self-described attempt to advance ideas of “economic justice.”
According to the school’s official website, UCM aims to create a “society in which the distribution of resources is equitable” and promote “cultural awareness.”
To bring these goals to term, the university created a special “Social Justice” department which hosts annual events such as the “National Coming Out Awareness” week and a “Multicultural Odyssey in San Francisco.”
Despite the political nature of the programs, Dr. Charles Nies, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, fervently defended the events, telling Campus Reform that the university is not using public resources to advance political ideas.
“We wouldn’t use student fees to advance any political views,” said Nies. “Social justice initiatives are the one point of view we are promoting with the social justice initiatives. It is basically the U.S. Constitution which starts off with the preamble around justice.”
Nies also stressed that UCM is not “taking a position on gay marriage” through the sponsorship of pride week.
“That [pride week] is promoting human dignity, right?” asked Nies. “It’s not like there aren’t gay Republicans. The idea of supporting human dignity... I didn’t realize there was a political division on whether or not we are supporting human dignity.”
UCM spokeswoman Brenda Ortiz also told Campus Reform that funding to the Social Justice Department will “increase as our programmatic needs grow, in part to student growth.”
Tuition at the University of California (UC) has risen dramatically over the past two decades. According to the UC’s Budget for Current Operations, tuition and fees were just $1,624 in 1990-91 compared to $12,192 in the 2011-12 school year.
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