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City College of San Francisco currently faces a loss of accreditation with a March 15th deadline looming to address demands of the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges. The ACCJC has threatened public colleges and schools but refuses to close down private charters and online operations where the rate of graduation is very low and billions of dollars are being made by the private operators. The ACCJR is also run by these same privatizers.
On February 21st, over 100 CCSF students, faculty, and supporters marched, rallied, and occupied to demand an end to the cutbacks and the privatization of the college. They called for accountability by chancellor Dr. Thelma Scott-Skillman who refused to show up. The administration building was occupied overnight by about three dozen students while waiting for the Chancellor to appear. The Chancellor did not show by morning, but when she agreed through intermediaries to meet with students on February 25th and explore their demands including regular open town hall meetings, protesters dispersed of their own accord without incident or arrest.
Students and workers gathered outside the Cowell Student Health Center on the UC Santa Cruz campus on February 13th in response to news that the UC system is planning to "exploit an Obamacare loophole" and cap student insurance coverage. The proposed plan would also increase Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) fees by 25% ($600). Rally organizers called the changes "financial mismanagement" on the part of UC administrators.
Organizers of the rally handed out crutches, walkers, and surgical masks to members of the crowd to be used as props to symbolize the effects on student health the proposals would have.
Sporadically throughout the rally, demonstrators moved slowly through the McLaughlin Drive crosswalk in front of the health center, partly to pantomime a deteriorating metaphoric health, and partly to slow vehicular traffic as a statement to the university powers that be. Traffic was never delayed for more than a minute or so, and demonstrators received a significant amount of positive feedback from bus and service vehicle drivers.
Read More with Photos | University of California Management's Backup Plans
Occupy the Farm writes
: "On Friday November 16, 2012, the University of California (UC) razed all of the publicly planted crops on the Gill Tract.
"Occupy the Farm is disappointed that the UC has unnecessarily destroyed the hard work of the community and food that could have fed it. Over the course of the last month, members of the public sowed edible winter greens together with fava beans, a popular and effective cover crop. Had the UC left these in place, the Gill Tract would have benefited from the necessary nutrient building over the course of the winter, and would have produced food for the community. The weekly distribution and harvest events could have continued that, over the course of the summer and early fall, have yielded over one ton of food from the crops planted during the occupation last Spring. This free food was distributed locally in Albany, Berkeley, Richmond and Oakland at pop-up farm stands organized by Occupy the Farm.
"However, the successes of the last seven months inspire us to continue to organize. Despite the UC police raid and the destruction of over half of the crops in May, we still managed to grow and distribute thousands of pounds of free food to the community this summer. The unprecedented public access to the Gill Tract this spring allowed thousands of Bay Area residents to finally set foot on the land and farm. In August, a successful petition for referendum was submitted against the Albany City Council approval of UC development. In September, Whole Foods cancelled its development plan with the UC entirely. The UC also announced a modest ten-year guarantee to preserve the northern piece of the land and promised a nebulous College of Natural Resources program for urban agriculture.
"Now is the time to compare our position to that of the UC, and to make it clear what we are fighting for.
"We want to see the Gill Tract preserved as farmland, in perpetuity."
Read More |
UC destroys winter greens and cover crops planted by Occupy The Farm on the Gill Tract
On August 10th, Thomas Matzat and supporters appeared before the Yolo County District Court for a pre-trial hearing. Thomas is being charged with five counts of felony vandalism, fourteen counts of misdemeanor vandalism, and one misdemeanor charge for “possessing a marking substance with the intent to commit vandalism”. At the hearing, Thomas’ pro bono legal team provided evidence that police lied about security footage used to identify him.
An abandoned historic building in Oakland was unveiled on the morning of August 13th as the Victor Martinez Community Library. The building was one of seven library branch casualties of budget cuts in the late seventies, and since then it has mostly sat empty. On the first day of the re-opening, donations of books poured in and area children helped to start a community garden in a side lot. In less than 15 hours, however, OPD raided the Community Library. The next morning, activists re-opened the library on the sidewalk in front of the building and it has been growing since.
On July 13th, the legal team for the Davis Dozen, students and faculty of UC Davis who allegedly blockaded a corporate bank that appeared on their campus last Fall, filed a Pitchess Motion which alleges that the officers in the case used excessive force or lied about the events surrounding the defendants' arrest. This will provide the court access to the officers' records, allowing confirmation of past use of excessive force against the defendants. Their next court date has been set for Friday, August 24th
David Morse, a long-time member of the San Francisco Bay Area Independent Media Center has settled his lawsuit over the University of California - Berkeley Police Department’s improper arrest, imprisonment, and seizure of journalistic materials during a student demonstration he was covering as a journalist. In exchange for Mr. Morse’s agreement to dismiss the lawsuit, UC Regents have paid $162,500 and have agreed to modify UCBPD policies and procedures and to conduct extensive training sessions for UCBPD officers regarding protections for journalists under federal and state law.
It was standing room only in the county government center for the Santa Cruz LAFCO
meeting on June 6th
, where over 50 community members spoke before the commission in support of protecting the forest and open space of the UC Santa Cruz upper campus from future development.
During the meeting, university chancellor George Blumenthal threatened that UCSC would take legal action or withdraw its application entirely if the conditions LAFCO laid out on March 7th
that limit extending water service to the north campus were imposed. After a break, commissioners John Leopold
and Don Lane
returned with amendments to the March 7th conditions, but ultimately LAFCO decided the next vote on the matter would be held in October.
Read more, listen to audio, view video and photos | Previous Coverage: LAFCO to Vote on Motions Concerning Expansion of UC Santa Cruz
At the end of this school year, the Oakland Unified School District plans to close five public elementary schools and hand children’s school buildings over to private charter schools and district administration offices. Hundreds of the displaced students have been placed by the district in elementary schools that are 10 miles away, and the school district has offered no guarantee that transportation will be provided for families. In response, Oakland Parents and Teachers are sitting-in to keep neighborhood schools open.
On June 15th
, after the last day of school, Oakland parents and teachers will sit in at Lakeview Elementary demanding that the district keep all neighborhood schools open. The district has not listened to lawsuits, pleas from parents and teachers, or protests. Supporters
write: "We know the money exists, but still they insist on closing flatland schools serving predominantly black and brown children. We say no more excuses! We’re keeping the schools open the last way left to us, by sitting-in. But we cannot do this alone. We need your support! Demand the district and the politicians give us full funding for quality education in neighborhood public schools. Join the fight for our kids’ futures!"
Demands include: keeping all five schools open; stopping attacks on teachers and school workers; refusing to pay the school system debt to the state; and fully funding quality public education for all children.
Read More Event Details | Parents and Teachers Sit-in at Lakeview Elementary To Stop School Closures | Photos
In a courtroom packed full of supporters at the Yolo County Courthouse in Woodland, California, all twelve defendants, known as both the "Davis Dozen" and the "Banker's Dozen", pleaded not guilty at their arraignment on May 10th. They also rejected a plea deal offered by the Assistant District, calling the charges against them "a sham." On Friday, June 1st, the Davis Dozen returned to the Yolo County Courthouse for a pre-trial conference. A June 1st pre-trial conference was brief, and a date was set for another pre-trial conference to file motions on Friday, June 22nd
The Montreal student strike began in February when most of the cégeps
in the province of Québec, as well as two of the largest universities, voted to protest new austerity measures. For some of the schools, continuing the strike has been a week-to-week re-negotiation while others voted right from the beginning to participate in an unlimited general strike, and still others voted to strike until all education was free. On May 18th, two new laws came into effect in Montréal: one, a municipal by-law, aims to discourage people from wearing masks at demonstrations by threatening them with fines from $1000 to $5000; the other, a provincial Special Law which demands that demonstrators, anywhere in Québec, submit to the local police a start time and a complete route at least eight hours in advance. The provincial law also declares that there can be no demonstrations on the grounds of academic institutions, with organizers risking fines in the tens of thousands of dollars.
The students of Quebec have taken a struggle against tuition hikes and mobilized hundreds of thousands against austerity and state repression. What began as a one-week university student strike has widened into an anti-capitalist revolt against universities, banks and police in what many are calling a general and indefinite social strike. In the face of state repression, including Law 78 more or less banning protest, court injunctions against university picket lines, and mass arrests, the students of Montreal have returned to the streets night after night for over 100 days.
On June 1st, an evening march was held in Oakland to show solidarity with the students to the north.
Video of Oakland's March |
Oakland Event Announcement |
Over 100,000 protesters commit civil disobedience in Montreal |
Solidarity Means Attack - Call For Support From Montréal!
At least two individuals have been subpoenaed to a federal grand jury that appears to be investigating a fire set at the home of a UC Santa Cruz animal researcher in 2008. There was no claim of responsibility for the fire, and there is no evidence activists were responsible. Nonetheless, the incident became the impetus for the "AETA 4" case, which saw the indictment of four Bay Area activists before charges were dismissed in 2010.
May Day in downtown Santa Cruz this year saw a wide variety of community members coming together and rallying to honor the global struggles of the worker. On the morning of May 1st
, students at UC Santa Cruz supported AFSCME local 3299 union members at the university, and then later in the day marched downtown where a group of community members, populated largely with people active with Occupy Santa Cruz, met them on Mission Street after themselves marching up Pacific Avenue.
"I think we are on the brink of a revolution," commented one student during a discussion group at an afternoon rally at the base of the UCSC campus. Another student followed with, "I think it has already started," referring to how nationwide, occupy movements are working with workers' organizations.
Downtown, in addition to honoring workers, community members hoped to, "create an ongoing network of solidarity between Santa Cruz students, workers, and community members." Off to the side, a plain clothes officer with the Santa Cruz Police Department videotaped marchers.
Read More | Part 2
In downtown Santa Cruz on April 20, LGBQT community members from the Diversity Center's Youth Program and their family members and allies held a "Breaking the Silence" rally in front of the Del Mar Theatre before a showing of the film "Bully". People held signs and shared stories. There was a group shout out, and many involved with the youth program wore tape x'd over their mouths to both symbolize the silencing effect of bullying on the LGBQT youth community, as well as to be an expression of solidarity with those who could not attend the rally in person for many different reasons of privacy.
On April 20th, thousands of people descended upon Porter Meadow at UC Santa Cruz for Four Twenty (420), a counterculture holiday observed in cities throughout the world, where people gather to celebrate and consume cannabis. Four Twenty in Porter Meadow at UCSC is an unorganized annual tradition. Last year, rain caused people to seek shelter under the forest canopy. This year, it was the hot sun which drove people to the shade provided by the trees.
Just months after UC Davis police pepper sprayed seated students
in the face during a protest against university privatization and police brutality, Chancellor Linda Katehi's administration is trying to send some of the same students to prison for their alleged role in protests that led to the closure of a US Bank branch on campus.
On March 29th, weeks after an anti-privatization action against US Bank ended with the closure of the bank’s campus branch, 11 UC Davis students and one professor received orders to appear at Yolo County Superior Court. District Attorney Jeff Reisig is charging campus protesters with 20 counts each of obstructing movement in a public place and one count of conspiracy. If convicted, the protesters could face up to 11 years each in prison, and $1 million in damages. Support has been requested for their arraignment, which has been rescheduled to May 10th
Last year, UC Davis and US Bank entered a relationship. The deal was that US Bank would provide some money each year to UC Davis, an amount based on how many students opened up accounts with US Bank, in exchange for Davis leasing an office to the bank in the Student Union and issuing new student ID cards, ones with a US Bank logo, that could be used as debit cards. This is a deal that benefits both sides, US Bank gets a captive group of possible customers and UC Davis gets some cash. The only people who do not benefit are the students. The logic of privatization is most clear when a student ID card is branded by its corporate sponsor.
11 UC Davis Students, Professor, Charged for U.S. Bank Blockade | Support The Davis Dozen! Drop All Charges!