I received this reply from Office of Civil Rights/Department of Education:

July 30 2012 OCR reply for UCEAP

I sent this email to OCR on August 24th, 2012:

 

To Whom It May Concern:

Even though my complaint was closed (without investigation) is said complaint documented with OCR in the event another student (of color, and/or sexual orientation, etc.)comes across similar circumstances? (If not within the same Singapore program, be it with students, but with the same liaison (i.e.Daisy Ling) or the same UCEAP employees in Goleta, CA?)

I look forward to your response.

I received this reply from Gemini McCasland, an attorney with OCR:

Mr. Kirk,

 The complaint you filed with the U.S. Department of Education is maintained in our records.

My reply:

Thank you for your reply.

(Simultaneously posted on stopucscracism.com)

This past Saturday, the 19th, I took part in a pre-departure orientation for EAP at UCSC, specifically at College 9&10 multipurpose room.

When I was signing in to get my name tag, I was curious as to who else would be there from the group I was with in Singapore.

You can imagine the feeling when I found out “the duo” Scott Pressman and Alex Mitchell were present.

Both, this time, actually said “hello” to which I nodded with heavy restraint. Pressman even decided to make small talk by walking over to where I was and asking about classes and so forth.

When we (all the returnees from different countries) were taken to a room above the 9&10 dining hall, I noticed once again a problem facing UCSC: I was the ONLY black person in the entire group, and (save for one Hispanic/Latino guy and two Asian girls) the rest of the 20+ people were white.

After some further milling about, as some student interns of the UCSC EAP office told us how to approach talking with students who were going abroad, we were let go to head to our respective areas. (Of course, I was going to the Singapore area).

I actually walked out of that room above the dining hall, outside, and was going to go to the library and study….but, I told myself….”What am I doing? I’m always talk about standing up for equality and exposure for black folks in higher education…and I’m looking to leave?”

I walked back, and headed to the multipurpose room, and met with Lori Eiserman, who mentioned she was glad to see me.

I told her about “the duo” and how I was about to just leave, but she thought it was best I did stay. I agreed.

So, being professional, sitting across from “the duo,” I had to tell our group of five students about to go abroad: one Asian male, one Eurasian(half-Asian/half white) male, and three white males, what to expect when they reach to Singapore.

Afterward, I made my out of there after giving my contact information to the Asian male student, who seemed to connect with me since I was talking less on partying and antics done in the country…and more on political climate, signing up for classes, etc…

On Feb 13th, 2012, I sent a follow up to my December 13th complaint:

Hello-
 
I am following up on my complaint sent around 12/13/2011.
 
I look forward to your timely response.
 
–Joel B. Kirk
Miss DeRomana’s Response:

February 28, 2012

 Dear Mr. Kirk,

I thank you for taking the time to send me the information in relation to your complaint in the UCEAP Singapore Program.  I appreciated the opportunity to consider your concerns involving the actions and behavior of your UCEAP Singapore classmates and Coordinator, Daisy Ling.  We have reviewed the information you shared and determined that the conduct you described, if substantiated, would not rise to the level of a policy violation related to this office.  As such, UCEAP will take no further action at this time.

If you have any additional information related to this situation that you have not already shared and would cause me to re-evaluate this decision, please report this information to me as soon as possible.  I appreciate your report of this issue.  Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have further questions or concerns.

 Best regards,

 Ines

My response on the same day:

Thank you for your reply.

 I’m still confused over why Daisy Ling didn’t take any action when I reported my concerns, and why she didn’t want anything on record.
 
Can I get some clarification on that?
 
–Joel K. 
Also, why did I have issues getting my grades from her, and other students did not?

 
(So, I’m awaiting answers to two questions).

 
–Joel K.
DeRomana’s Response:
Thank you.  Got both messages and I will be able to respond by tomorrow.  Ines
***

February 29, 2012

Dear Mr. Kirk:

Thank you for your acknowledgment and additional inquiries.  As previously stated, we reviewed the concerns you reported in relation to Ms. Ling’s behavior and determined that her actions in the specific incidents you described would not rise to the level of a violation of the policies relevant to this office. 

On the second issue, it is our understanding that those for whom select grades may have been provided earlier were due to pre-requisite enrollment requirements for subsequent courses the following term. 

We appreciate your follow-up and wish you the best in your future endeavors. Your feedback will be considered as we continue to focus on improving services and support for students abroad.

Ines

My Response, also on the 29th:

Hello-

Thank your for your reply.
You will have to explain this “pre-requisite enrollment” requirement, since one of the students goes to my school…and it is known that the grades won’t show up for a couple of weeks.

For all we know, every student could have received his or her grades, but I didn’t receive my grades…or a direct answer from Ling, due to me not stating some pre-requisite requirement.

(From your email, you haven’t looked into this).

Too, why wasn’t I notified by “Miss Ling” rather than being forwarded(without knowledge) to Eva Balandzia?

Now, let’s retread:

Once I called Ling out, I got attitude from her. This is after I called her on saying she didn’t want anything on record in  a Nov 25th email. I was having money issues, and I was already uncomfortable around other UC students, due to what I was going through.  Moreover, I was already going back and forth with counseling and psychological services. Moses Massenburg (Dec 7th email) noticed Daisy’s attitude as well, and even though she had an evil look on her face when she did give me money (after verifying with the financial aid office) I got the cash nevertheless. (I received a text on Dec 7th text: “2:30 at deck confirmed. Be punctual as I have things to do…”)

Three students (two white-Americans, one Asian) got their grades from Daisy with no problems. They posted them on Facebook, which I have documentation by copying the screen. I was directed to Daisy to get my grades, but I was forwarded to UCEAP rep-Eva Balandzia –where I was told to wait a week, and as for the Facebook, they would have to check the validity of them getting their grades.

Now, Justin Mingus, who is GRADUATED…shouldn’t have any need for pre-requisites.  I’m still going through TWO more quarters. Shouldn’t I have had no problem getting my grades, especially since I need to figure my own classes? And, again, why couldn’t Ling state this in her email?

Three people, possibly more students from the UCEAP didn’t have to wait from Ling to get their grades….and I would have had to wait an entire week, after being transferred, and going through red-tape, for UCEAP to check the validity….as well as give me my grades.

Of course, I made note that (at that time, Thursday, they can contact Ling either the same day or Friday). After their–UCEAP people’s– investigation, I was to get my grades the following Monday.

So, I had to deal with your representative(Daisy Ling) not caring about my well-being in regards to how I was treated by fellow UC students. I had to go to Counseling and Psychological Services, and deal with attitude from your representative on getting financial help, as well as my grades.

As I mentioned in my initial complaint, it’s good I wasn’t suicidal, or lost (or even dead) in some country because of what was going on…which could have happened to someone will less life experience.

Overall, I’m getting a “don’t care” attitude from my complaint, and a lot of assumptions.

Now, I’m assuming you’re under the Department of Education, so that looks to be the next step.

Since this also is in regards to my UCEAP trip: I sent photos of my trip to Marjina Hall. I never received an answer. 

I sent photos because your site primarily shows white students (with some Asian students sprinkled in).  Could I get a follow-up on that?

DeRomana’s Response:

March 1, 2012

Dear Mr. Kirk,

I am sorry that you are not happy with our answer.  Due to privacy concerns, I cannot talk about specifics of other students’ situations.  The prerequisite issue pertains to the need for a student to know that he/she has successfully completed a prior course before being allowed to register for a subsequent related course.  The prerequisite would justify the need to receive confirmation of successful completion of a course on an expedited basis.  However, UCEAP grades are not official until posted in MyEAP by a UCEAP official in California. Unfortunately, you have exhausted the issue so there will be no further communication from UCEAP on this point.

 It appears that you wrote us back in September about submitting photos. Mrs. Mirjana Hall asked you to send your photos to uceap-asia@eap.ucop.edu, which you did over two weeks ago or so, but the message bounced back. The email address was operational in September but must have changed due to a recent network migration. I tested the email address yesterday and it bounced back so our IT Department is looking into this.  Unfortunately, Mrs. Hall no longer works here, which is the reason why you did not receive a response to your message. Thank you for following up.  I apologize for the lack of response if you were expecting an acknowledgement to your message.  Please re-send the photos to my address and I’ll see to it that the appropriate person in Marketing receives them.  However, this is not a guarantee that the pictures will be used as a graphic artist will need to assess the overall quality of each one.

I trust that this answers your questions.

Ines

Thank you for your reply, Miss DeRomana.

My response:
I believe I will be looking into a complaint filed with the Department of Education as my next step.

You should really make sure that each student, despite his or her ethnicity is treated fairly. Especially if he or she is studying in another country with a mixture of students.

I have a site documenting my experiences at UCSC:

I look to have one for UCEAP soon.

Have a good day.
****
(separate email)
I forgot to ask:


What exactly happens with your “investigation”?

Is this documented on your part, filed away in case other students(of color)have the same occurrences as I? Or is this just dismissed altogether?

I appreciate your reply.

–Joel K.
On April 16th, 2012:
Hello Miss DeRomana-


Pretty soon, I am looking to have my notes together on my blog before I file the complaint with the Office of Civil Rights/Department of Education. However, I did have two questions:

  1. Has there been any other African American students who have complained of racism, or feeling that they don’t belong, or isolated with UCEAP?
  2. Are you the primary person complaints go to? Or is there a person or office above you?

Thank you for your response, 

Joel Kirk
Her Response:

April 17, 2012

12:08 p.m. PDT

Hello, Joel.

We just talked on the phone.  Here are my answers, in writing.

 1.       Regarding your email messages.  I asked our IT department to look into this.  They said the following:

There are records in the UCEAP Barracuda (anti-spam device) that show that you have sent 56 emails to ‘eap.ucop.edu’ addresses as of today. Of those 56, five were blocked due to wrong address (to Mary McMahon).  You would have been immediately notified that the address was incorrect.  Our IT staff member saw emails sent to Mary McMahon’s correct address on the same day, so it looks like this was sorted out. One was blocked as it was over our attachment size limit (message was 13+ MB and our limit was 10MB at the time) for incoming and outgoing messages.  On two separate occasions, you had email blocked based on a heuristic spam filter.  Our spam filters are set equally for all incoming and outgoing messages, which impacts all of our staff in the office, as well.  The system notifies the sender immediately when a message was blocked and why and records it.  This provides a way for a legitimate sender (not a spammer) to be aware that his or her recipients did not receive the message and with an opportunity to follow up.  Which you did.

2.       I am not aware of any other African American students who have complained of racism, or feeling that they don’t belong, or isolated with UCEAP.

3.       I am the primary person to receive complaints with respect to UCEAP.

 Ines

The week of January 8th, I found out via Facebook that certain students were getting their grades from Daisy Ling. Those students were Yao (Asian) , Justin (Caucasian), and Jacob (Caucasian).

(I copied the exchange–screen capture–with these individuals who said I just needed to ask Daisy to get my grades, or even Skype her).

When I emailed Daisy, I received no reply. I was actually forwarded to a UCEAP individual, Eva Bilandiza….who told me I would have to wait a week before I got my grades. However, I had to explain that there were people who already got their grades.

Miss Biladzia claimed that the Facebook entries possibly were not valid, until I emailed the screen captures.

They “investigated” and I was able to get my grades the following Monday.

The October 27th email was what I used as my complaint against Daisy Ling, some of the students, and to document my experiences as an African American.

I received the following reply from Ines DeRomana on December 20th:

Hello, Mr. Kirk.

I am writing to acknowledge receipt of your December 13 message regarding your experience during the UCEAP Program at National University of Singapore.  You have raised serious concerns regarding the manner in which your complaints were handled during the program.   I will conduct an investigation of the circumstances, including a personal interview with all individuals mentioned in your message, and examination of all documentation and of the charges that you brought forward on your email. After this initial review, I will be in contact with you through email.  Please note that this process may take longer due to the holidays and the resumption of the spring semester on the different campuses.

 Best regards,

 Ines

A letter from Ms. Vanita Kaneson from the Psychological and Counseling Services at National University of Singapore:

Dec 7, 2011 (Daisy Ling):

Hi Joel
>
>I had received confirmation from UC to pass you the loan.
>
>
>Please meet me at the Deck (Arts Canteen) today 1.30pm Wed 7th Dec, to collect the loan from me. The amount converted to Sing Dollar is S$128 equivalent to US$100. You will need to sign the promissonary note for the loan amount.
>
>Please be punctual as I have other things to attend to right after that.
>Daisy
>  

Dec 7th, 2011 (Me):

Daisy-

I know I mentioned 1pm via text, since I too have other things to attend to, but I’m thinking if 12:30pm might be best so I can have time to get to my next appt. Can we do 12:30pm?

–Joel K.

Dec 7th, 2011 (Daisy Ling):
Joel:

Please do not one moment change time on the cellphone and then later another change of time on the email.  It is confusing and I might miss the email as I need to draw cash to loan to you.

So this is the final time confirmed. I had also text confirmation to you on your cellphone that I am meeting you 12.30pm  the deck today.

Any changes please use the cellphone to text.

Daisy
(Note: It is after this exchange, that Mr. Massenburg noticed that Miss Ling wasn’t too professional in her attitude).
I even got a text around 10:34 (in between the above email exchange)saying:
12:30pm at deck confirmed. Be punctual as I have things to do.
Regardless, I did get my money for food (albeit with a more evil look from Miss Ling) and I was able to survive a couple more days. And, I also received money in my account for housing.
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