Months after USF announced it would discontinue Upward Bound at the university, USF has agreed to continue sponsorship of the college-prep program. The announcement came four days after a second protest in front of the School of Education.
Mary Wardell, associate vice provost for Diversity and Community Engagement, made the announcement via USF Connect two weeks ago. In the announcement, Wardell said, “we forged a genuine partnership with the community, and agreed to form an advisory board that will provide Upward Bound with a new level of oversight and accountability.”
The collaborative efforts of various community members helped seal the decision.
USF originally planned for Upward Bound’s contract to expire fall 2012, forcing the program to find another host-institution. The university has decided to continue its 40-year affiliation with the program and provide classrooms as available. The program will still need to find an off-campus location for its administrative office and other classrooms.
Upward Bound is currently drafting a grant for the federal government to renew the program for the next five years.
Director of Upward Bound Janice Dirden-Cook said, “We are going to experience challenges in terms of space. As it looks now, we will have to locate off-campus office space just to handle the administrative responsibilities of the program. We will be able to continue to utilize the campus space for program delivery as available.”
Wardell said, “Upward Bound would be able to use classes as they are available after all the USF programs had been scheduled.” Wardell also added, “Space is going to be an ongoing issue for the university because we’re getting ready to break ground. I think we can kind of envision how that may impact our lives but we won’t know until it happens.”
Wardell said the main issues the university needed to be addressed are accountibility for Upward Bound, availability of classrooms on campus and integration to the teaching and learning mission of the university and a genuine partnership with the community.
In the months that Upward Bound’s whereabouts were unknown, USF students began Bound for Social Justice, an initiative to secure the program at the university.
USF graduate student Cipolla-Stickles helped organize Bound for Social Justice, along with fellow grad student Kym Glanville after meeting during student orientation in January. When they heard the University would discontinue Upward Bound, Cipolla-Stickles said, “I was mostly shocked and outraged and confused.”
Both students did not know much about the program when starting the group but Cipolla-Stickles said, “It’s important to believe in social justice and be socially responsible. We know what education means to young people.”
Elisa Cabrera, a junior at George Washington High School, considers the Upward Bound program a second home to her. When Cabrera found out Upward Bound would stay at USF, she described the news as a miracle. “I didn’t think it was gonna happen,” she said, “I really thought [the university] was gonna kick us out.” She aspires to go to a UC or CSU after graduating.
Cabrera was an active participant in the protests, speaking at the vigil held March 3.
She said, “[The community] needs to know what we do and why we want to stay. Not just because we want to stay but because we have a reason to serve minorities.”
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