More than 200 protest USF’s move to boot Upward Bound off campus

More than 200 students, staff and community members protested around the Saint Ignatius Church on the University of San Francisco’s campus Thursday in hopes of saving the Upward Bound program.

Upward Bound, which is a federally funded program to help low-income and at risk teens prepare for college, will no longer be housed at the university after August 2012.

University officials said the program can no longer continue on campus because of a “severe space crunch.”

According to a released statement from the University, officials do not see an easy solution.

“We have already moved entire programs off campus,” University officials stated. “We are now conducting a comprehensive space review that will likely lead us to relocate other programs as well. We have also been forced to dramatically reduce the number of outside organizations that we can accommodate on campus.”

Janice Cook, director of the Upward Bound program, however, said she wishes the University explored other options, including leasing space off campus, to continue the program before deciding to discontinue it.

“There are models available that do not require severing programs from institution,” she said. “The kids — the ones who need the most help — are really put in jeopardy here.”

Upward Bound has been at USF since 1966. Nearly 200 high school students from low income families are able to take advantage of the tutoring and residential summer programs beginning in the ninth grade.

Students participate in one of two programs offered at USF. One is general education, the other is math and science focused.

By their junior year, Cook said, the program also helps students prepare for college by walking them through applications.<br>
It is paid for by nearly $900,000 in federal grant money and no cost to the university.

Cook said it will be hard to retain the grant money because it is so competitive. USF’s grant expires in August 2012.

This is the second program USF has announced it will discontinue a program. Earlier this year, the university was mired in controversy when it sold KUSF — the college radio station — to CPRN, owned by the University of Southern California without notifying students.

Applications to renew the grant for another 5 years are due in the fall.

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