Letter to the Editor: Transcript Troubles

UC Davis, please.

My name is Ronnie Chavez. I am a recent UC Davis alumni and am currently working as a seventh grade English Language Arts teacher on the westside of Charlotte, North Carolina.

During my time at UC Davis I served as a Peer Advising Counselor for the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) working with first generation, low-income students. It was during that time I discovered what I want to do with my life.

I want to work in the field of education, with children across the country, and to provide them with a the fair shake they have historically lacked on account of their zip code. As I prepare to begin teaching on the 26th of August, I am filled with excitement for the work that lies ahead.

However, something is preventing me from staying here in Charlotte. The state of North Carolina requires all teachers to have a conferred copy of their undergraduate transcript. Until I receive this document, I will not be paid as a teacher ━ and without a first of the month paycheck, I will be unable to stay in Charlotte as I am financially drained of resources.

UC Davis told me, after several phone calls and even a desperate email to the mayor, that transcripts would be conferred on the 27th of August. This date is too late as my local school district has told me the processing time is a few days. Essentially, if the transcript is conferred then, I still won’t get paid till the following month.

I left UC Davis with a warm heart. It was my first choice, and a place I consider a home away from home. I have a younger brother also attending UC Davis and I hope my youngest brother decides to attend as well.

However, this process has left me with a sour taste. For the first time I feel like a mere student among 30,000. I don’t feel as though I am reaching out to a community of support. Rather it has consistently felt, through every email and phone call, like a typical day at the DMV. It is frustrating and even disheartening to think I will have to leave Charlotte on account of my University unable to make a simple accommodation: to provide me with the degree I earned (and paid over $40,000 for).

And while I, as well as countless recent college graduates from across the country (with conferred degrees), do not understand this seemingly over-the-top and elongated process, I do understand it is the process. It is the timeline everyone is dealing with ━ so at the end of the day I have no one to blame. This is a life lesson and I will have many more to come.

So I write this letter today asking a favor: to have my transcript conferred just a week, maybe even a few days, early.

I write it as a teacher who wants to make a difference, who wants to be here in Charlotte, teaching students to read and write.

I write as a proud alumni who still tells everyone I meet that I am so so thankful to of had the opportunity to study at such a diverse and student oriented campus.

In the end, I write as a person in need of some help.

So, please, UC Davis, confer my degree early. Let me enter my classroom and prepare the future generations ━ perhaps future Aggies ━ for college. Let me tell them about college as not just a wonderful place to expand their mind academically, but a community of people who have an active interest in their overall success.

Please, do this not just for me, but the students here on the West side of Charlotte.

Ronnie Chavez
UC Davis 2013 alumni, English major

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