Former SEIU Attorney Kent D. Wong, the Director of UCLA’s Center for Labor Research and Education, announced this past week that UCLA has joined forces with the National Labor College, the academic arm of organized labor, to create a new partnership, National Dream University, which enables illegal aliens residing anywhere in the United States to earn up to 18 college credits online.
According to its website, the program is “designed to give immigrant youth the opportunity to access higher education,” and will offer them “the opportunity to learn from influential Civil Rights leaders like Reverend James Lawson and Tom Hayden, Immigrant Youth Movement leaders, and academics and scholars from across the country.”
As the San Francisco Chronicle reported, about 35 students will be accepted into the program. Applications will be accepted until October for classes that begin in January, 2013. Credits earned will be transferable to at least some other universities, including UCLA, according to the Huffington Post.
Six courses of three college credit hours each will be offered. Five will be taught at UCLA, and will cost students $65 per credit hour. One will be taught at the NCL and will cost $235 per college credit hour. Total cost for 18 credit hours is $2,400.
According to the UCLA website, California residents who enroll in UCLA for a 32 credit hour academic year pay $12, 686 in tuition, or $396 per credit hour. Non residents pay $35,564 in tuition, or $1,111.37 per credit hour.
Illegal aliens who reside in California and transfer all 18 National Dream University credit hours to UCLA will pay $4,728 less than the $7,128 legal California residents who attend UCLA currently pay for the same 18 credit hours. The subsidies to illegal aliens are even greater for those who reside outside of California. They will pay $17,604 less than the $20,004 legal US residents who are not California residents and attend UCLA currently pay for the same 18 credit hours.
According to the NDU’s website, admission to the program will not be limited to illegal aliens. Students who are not “undocumented citizens” (that is, students who are citizens and legal residents of the United States) will also be eligible for admission. However, commitment to a left wing political pro labor-union ideology will be a condition of acceptance for all students, as specified in these requirements for admission listed on the website:
To be considered for admission to National Dream University you must:
(1) have graduated from a U.S. high school;
(2) a minimum cumulative 2.7 GPA;
(3) demonstrate commitment to immigrant/labor rights and social justice; (emphasis added)
(4) and submit a complete application by October 5, 2012.
The six courses offered will be a primer in labor union organizing, taught by hard core labor propagandists: Living Labor History, Immigrant Rights, Labor and Higher Education, Introduction to Research Methods in Labor, Nonviolence and Social Movements, Students and Pro-Democratic Movements, and Race, Gender, Sexuality, Class and U.S. Labor.
Admission decisions will presumably be made, at least in part, by UCLA Labor and Research Education Director Wong, who has a long record as a partisan left wing activist. He secured his position as director despite a weak academic background. He doesn’t have a Phd., and his law degree comes from the People’s College of Law, an obscure Los Angeles based law school not accredited by the ABA with one of the worst records of graduates passing the bar in the state of California.
For several years he served as the attorney for the Los Angeles area SEIU. He was named head of the Labor Center in 1991. In 2006, Wong and the Center honored the disgraced former head of the Los Angeles SEIU, Tyrone Freeman, who was recently indicted on felony charges of embezzlement and faces 200 years in prison.
In 2010, speaking at a highly partisan rally in support of the Federal Dream Act, Wong said its opponents were motivated by “racism,” and called for the removal of “old white men” from Congress.
UCLA’s partner in National Dream University, the National Labor College, is just as partisan as Director Wong. In 2009 Inside Higher Education described the college, located at the time on a 47 acre campus in Silver Spring, Maryland just north of the city limits of Washington, D.C., as “the academic arm of organized labor,” and traced its history:
Founded as a training center for organizers in 1969, the college became accredited in 2004 and has placed renewed emphasis on awarding bachelor’s degrees and broadening its curriculum.
Labor College students are more likely to be union members, in part because non-union members pay significantly higher tuition. An A.F.L.-C.I.O member pays $174 per credit hour, compared with $1,137 per credit hour for non-union members. The bachelor of arts and bachelor of technical/professional studies degrees both require 120 credits.
Part of the role of the college, however, is to bolster union membership. Unionized students pay less, but even non-unionized members can get a substantial discount if they agree to join Working America, an affiliate of the A.F.L.-C.I.O. that aims to form alliances between union and non-union employees. Working America membership is only $5, but students who go through the college are more likely to join a union after graduation if they haven’t already, Scheuerman says. In essence, the Labor College is drawing students from unions, and helping bring new members in as well, he says.
The past three years have not gone well for the National Labor College. Last week, just as the National Dream University partnership with UCLA was announced, the New York Times reported that financial difficulties have forced the school to sell its 47 acre campus and all its buildings:
Faced with diminishing membership and revenues, organized labor is selling the site of its accredited institution of higher learning, the National Labor College, on 47 prime acres ripe for development just off the Capital Beltway here…
The decision to sell reflects the decline of organized labor’s finances as well as the college’s shift to mostly online courses. The college also has been having financial difficulties, which were worsened last fall when a partnership on distance learning with the for-profit Princeton Review came apart.
The college has been running annual deficits of more than $6 million. The A.F.L.-C.I.O. has heavily subsidized the college to keep it running, making the potential sale a welcome financial shot in the arm for the labor federation…
“It’s a big failure on the part of the labor movement,” said Greg W. Giebel, the school’s first provost and until recently president of its adjunct faculty union. “It certainly is not what was intended as I knew it. The dream was we were to be the West Point of the labor unions.”
It’s unclear if Director Wong was able to establish UCLA’s partnerhship with the National Labor College and form National Dream University entirely on his own initiative, or if senior administrators at UCLA and within the University of California system approved and authorized the collaborative project. With the state of California on the verge of bankruptcy, many conservative critics wonder why UCLA has teamed up with the financially failing arm of organized labor to give college credit for partisan union organizing training and financial subsidies to illegal aliens, many of whom will not reside in California.
Michael Patrick Leahy is a Breitbart News contributor, Editor of Broadside Books’ Voices of the Tea Party e-book series, and author of Covenant of Liberty: The Ideological Origins of the Tea Party Movement.