Late last year, the University of San Francisco notified its resident Upward Bound program that it would not be sponsoring them after forty years. Currently USF Upward Bound serves nearly two hundred youth from low income communities all over the city.
Upward Bound is one of the most prestigious college preparatory schools for low income youth in the country. They provide after school tutoring, Saturday classes and is one of the only college prep. programs that provides a sixth week college emersion program during the summer. Students from ninth to eleventh grade stay in the dorms during the summer allowing them to get out of impoverished communities and/or over crowded households. For six weeks that are given the enormous opportunity to take classes not offered through the over crowded and over budgeted public school system and, to focus primarily on their studies.
USF Upward Bound is one of the first of its kind. Established soon after the civil rights movement, Upward Bound is one of the few programs that can often be found on state college applications all over the country. The college acceptance rate for USF UB is over eighty percent. I know this because not only did I work for USF UB for seven years, but I spent four years in the program as a high school kid. I was accepted into UC Santa Barbara right out of high school, the first and only member of my family to go. Most students from Upward Bound are the first in their family to go to college.
The staff who are working at the USF campus has been there since before 1989. They have put students into every major college in California. They sponsor college tours up and down the coast twice a year since I was a teenager. They have contributed to the separation of entire families from the cycle of poverty and provided jobs for young college students as tutors, resident counselors, teacher assistants and new counselors.
Perusing USF’s core values is confusing given recent events. Below is an excerpt from their Vision, Mission and Values page.
- Social responsibility in fulfilling the University’s mission to create, communicate and apply knowledge to a world shared by all people and held in trust for future generations;
- The full, integral development of each person and all persons, with the belief that no individual or group may rightfully prosper at the expense of others.
- A culture of service that respects and promotes the dignity of every person.
- The moral dimension of every significant human choice: taking seriously how and who we choose to be in the world.
These are admirable values of the highest standards written by men and women of great vision. Regretfully, the current administration at the University of San Francisco, does not understand this vision.
Please show your support. Email letters to President Stephen A. Privett, SJ at email@example.com. We need to keep these kids in school.