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Columbia Spectator Staff

To the editor: As a Barnard alumna (BC '96) and a former tutor for the Liberty Partnerships Program (1992-1996), I write to you to inform you about my disappointment regarding Barnard's decision to no longer support the Barnard Liberty Partnerships Program. The Liberty program is a mainly state-funded program that provides free tutoring, college counseling, and SAT preparation to low-income junior high and high school students who are at risk of failing academically (most of whom are minority students). All tutoring and mentoring is provided by Barnard and Columbia students. Recently, Vice President of Community Development Vivian Taylor announced to the parents and students of the Liberty Program (on the day the program was scheduled to start) that the college was ending its support of the program, not for financial reasons, but because of a change in vision. This local community program is no longer in sync with Barnard's new global vision. Although I am in complete support of Barnard's global initiatives, I do not believe that they should be at the expense of an already well-established local community program. The Liberty Program did not just provide tutoring to students. To its tutees, it provided hope and inspiration for a brighter future. For many students, Liberty also provided a much-needed shelter from the many hardships these children faced in their daily lives. To its tutors (all Barnard and Columbia students), it provided a sense of community, allowing us to become part of a group of individuals dedicated to enriching the lives of disadvantaged children. Liberty allowed us to transition from students to educators and leaders. We served as role models to young men and women who, more often than not, were left craving trustworthy relationships. Liberty's success speaks in the number of students that successfully go on to college. As a result of their experiences in the Liberty Program, many of these graduates also go on to serve their own communities. As a Barnard and Columbia alumna, I strongly believe that it is important to maintain a program that is in sync with the goal of the University of using education to better serve our communities. Alicia Hurtado Barnard College '96 Sept. 20, 2010

Tutoring Liberty Partnership Program Barnard