College seeks paid social justice activist
The University of California, Santa Cruz is seeking to pay a social justice activist from outside of the UCSC community to have “dialogue” with faculty and students.
The person chosen to fill the new “Activist-in-Residence” position will receive part-time independent contractor status, work 9-10 hours per week, and receive a $4,000 stipend for the academic quarter. He or she will also be eligible to obtain up to $1,000 to fund research, according to the program description.
"I’m just confused at the point of this being a paid position."
UCSC’s Research Center for the Americas (RCA) is launching the program with the objective of offering access to university research resources to students and faculty in order to facilitate “social justice oriented work” that aligns with the mission of the center.
"The RCA understands the identity of ‘activist' to be defined broadly,” the center explains. "An activist can be an artist, a community change maker, an educator, and/or a community advocate. An activist is someone who is committed to social change, to progressive reform, and to strengthening our local community.”
Candidates must have a track record of dedication to social justice efforts and must currently or recently have worked for a community or government organization that aids poor, immigrant, and racial minority communities. Applicants are asked to submit a resume, a 500-word personal statement, and references.
Other goals of the program include faculty and student interaction through “artist/activist” workshops and class visits, as well as promoting scholarship in areas such as “the well-being of the Chicanx/Latinx and immigrant communities” and “the social inclusion of multiple marginalized communities.”
“I’m just confused at the point of this being a paid position,” UCSC alumni Cody Lee told Campus Reform. “Don’t students and activists in town do this? Isn’t this being an established position opening up the potential for a hierarchy on voices or providing an arbitrary scapegoat?”
Lee, who participated in the activist community during his time at the university, also said that he found the concept of a paid position within the university to perform activism to be somewhat contradictory.
“When we marched and showed up and sat in, it was because we organized ourselves, and honestly, [participating] university employees always had to hide their faces at the risk of losing their jobs,” he said, adding that being a representative of the university would likely limit the ability of any individual activist to voice his or her own opinion.
Campus Reform reached out to the RCA for comment but did not receive a response in time for press.
Applications for the position close on Nov. 1.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @celinedryan