SF Bay Area Indymedia indymedia
Indybay About Contact Newsletter Calendar Publish Community

Santa Cruz Indymedia | Education & Student Activism | Labor & Workers

Occupation of the Graduate Student Commons at UC Santa Cruz
by ~Bradley ( bradley [at] riseup.net )
Friday Sep 25th, 2009 2:13 AM
On September 24th, students and workers at UC Santa Cruz began the occupation of the Graduate Student Commons as part of a day of action at all UCs across the state. The building is located in a central location on campus, across from the Bay Tree Bookstore. Occupiers are calling for another day of walkouts on Friday.
ucsc-occupation_1_9-24-09.jpg
ucsc-occupation_1_9-24-09...

A flyer distributed in the streets explains the building occupation at UC Santa Cruz:

The situation at the university has become untenable. Workers are losing their jobs. Students are dropping out of school. The promise of a good life at the end of a university education is now an illusion.

Compared to the severity of the crisis, the solutions on offer are woefully inadequate. The time for pointless negotiations is over. But a single day of action, announced in advance, is not enough. Escalation is absolutely necessary.

It remains for the people to seize what is theirs.

OCCUPY CALIFORNIA.
--

For more information, please visit:

Rally and Walkout at UC Santa Cruz to Defend the Future of Public Education
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2009/09/24/18623129.php

Strikes and Walkouts Against Budget Cuts, Fee Hikes, Layoffs, Furloughs at UC
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2009/09/20/18622513.php

UC Santa Cruz Students Occupy Graduate Student Commons
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2009/09/24/18623088.php
§
by ~Bradley Friday Sep 25th, 2009 2:13 AM
ucsc-occupation_2_9-24-09.jpg
ucsc-occupation_2_9-24-09...

§
by ~Bradley Friday Sep 25th, 2009 2:13 AM
ucsc-occupation_3_9-24-09.jpg
ucsc-occupation_3_9-24-09...

§
by ~Bradley Friday Sep 25th, 2009 2:13 AM
ucsc-occupation_4_9-24-09.jpg
ucsc-occupation_4_9-24-09...

§
by ~Bradley Friday Sep 25th, 2009 2:13 AM
ucsc-occupation_5_9-24-09.jpg
ucsc-occupation_5_9-24-09...

§
by ~Bradley Friday Sep 25th, 2009 2:13 AM
ucsc-occupation_6_9-24-09.jpg
ucsc-occupation_6_9-24-09...

§
by ~Bradley Friday Sep 25th, 2009 2:13 AM
ucsc-occupation_7_9-24-09.jpg
ucsc-occupation_7_9-24-09...

§
by ~Bradley Friday Sep 25th, 2009 2:13 AM
ucsc-occupation_8_9-24-09.jpg
ucsc-occupation_8_9-24-09...

§
by ~Bradley Friday Sep 25th, 2009 2:13 AM
ucsc-occupation_9_9-24-09.jpg
ucsc-occupation_9_9-24-09...

§
by ~Bradley Friday Sep 25th, 2009 2:13 AM
ucsc-occupation_10_9-24-09.jpg
ucsc-occupation_10_9-24-0...

§
by ~Bradley Friday Sep 25th, 2009 2:13 AM
ucsc-occupation_11_9-24-09.jpg
ucsc-occupation_11_9-24-0...

§
by ~Bradley Friday Sep 25th, 2009 2:13 AM
ucsc-occupation_12_9-24-09.jpg
ucsc-occupation_12_9-24-0...

§
by ~Bradley Friday Sep 25th, 2009 2:13 AM
ucsc-occupation_13_9-24-09.jpg
ucsc-occupation_13_9-24-0...

§
by ~Bradley Friday Sep 25th, 2009 2:13 AM
ucsc-occupation_14_9-24-09.jpg
ucsc-occupation_14_9-24-0...

§
by ~Bradley Friday Sep 25th, 2009 2:13 AM
ucsc-occupation_15_9-24-09.jpg
ucsc-occupation_15_9-24-0...

§
by ~Bradley Friday Sep 25th, 2009 2:13 AM
ucsc-occupation_16_9-24-09.jpg
ucsc-occupation_16_9-24-0...

§
by ~Bradley Friday Sep 25th, 2009 2:13 AM
ucsc-occupation_17_9-24-09.jpg
ucsc-occupation_17_9-24-0...

§
by ~Bradley Friday Sep 25th, 2009 2:13 AM
ucsc-occupation_18_9-24-09.jpg
ucsc-occupation_18_9-24-0...

§
by ~Bradley Friday Sep 25th, 2009 2:13 AM
ucsc-occupation_19_9-24-09.jpg
ucsc-occupation_19_9-24-0...

§
by ~Bradley Friday Sep 25th, 2009 2:13 AM
ucsc-occupation_20_9-24-09.jpg
ucsc-occupation_20_9-24-0...

§Occupation at UCSC
by ~Bradley Friday Sep 25th, 2009 2:15 AM

§Occupation at UCSC
by ~Bradley Friday Sep 25th, 2009 2:17 AM
ucsc-occupation_22_9-24-09.jpg
ucsc-occupation_22_9-24-0...

§Occupation at UCSC
by ~Bradley Friday Sep 25th, 2009 2:18 AM
ucsc-occupation_23_9-24-09.jpg
ucsc-occupation_23_9-24-0...

§Occupation at UCSC
by ~Bradley Friday Sep 25th, 2009 2:18 AM
ucsc-occupation_24_9-24-09.jpg
ucsc-occupation_24_9-24-0...

§Occupation at UCSC
by ~Bradley Friday Sep 25th, 2009 2:20 AM
ucsc-occupation_25_9-24-09.jpg
ucsc-occupation_25_9-24-0...

§Occupation at UCSC
by ~Bradley Friday Sep 25th, 2009 2:22 AM
ucsc-occupation_26_9-24-09.jpg
ucsc-occupation_26_9-24-0...

§Occupation at UCSC
by ~Bradley Friday Sep 25th, 2009 2:22 AM
ucsc-occupation_27_9-24-09.jpg
ucsc-occupation_27_9-24-0...

§Occupation at UCSC
by ~Bradley Friday Sep 25th, 2009 2:23 AM
ucsc-occupation_28_9-24-09.jpg
ucsc-occupation_28_9-24-0...

§Occupation at UCSC
by ~Bradley Friday Sep 25th, 2009 2:23 AM
ucsc-occupation_29_9-24-09.jpg
ucsc-occupation_29_9-24-0...

§Occupation at UCSC
by ~Bradley Friday Sep 25th, 2009 2:24 AM
ucsc-occupation_30_9-24-09.jpg
ucsc-occupation_30_9-24-0...

§UCSC building occupation
by . Friday Sep 25th, 2009 2:33 AM
For anyone who does not know, the graduate student commons at UCSC was occupied this afternoon in support of the walkout, the strike, and the struggles of students, workers, and teachers across the UC system. The building has been taken by a group of undergrads, grad students, and alumni, with hundreds rallying in support at the base of the building in Quarry Plaza. Barricades have been built and spirits are high.

We need your support! The success of this action relies on the support of the entire UCSC community. Already more students have joined the occupation, and, although the future is entirely unknown, this can potentially become an open, student-run space from which to launch a larger movement.

We have many reasons for taking this action, and many goals for what will happen. However, we have no demands for the UCSC administration, the Regents, or any of those who have power over us, those against whom we are struggling. In fact, we are not interested in addressing them in any way. Instead, our appeal goes out to you: to students, workers, supporters, and organizers. We want to build a movement. That is our demand.

For more information, see the following websites:

http://occupyca.wordpress.com
http://wewanteverything.wordpress.com

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by amigo
Friday Sep 25th, 2009 8:40 AM
inspiring pics bradley!

am loving the phrase "occupy everything."

may it ignite a fire in every spirit.
by Slug
Friday Sep 25th, 2009 1:19 PM
Yeah, let's take over the book store so no one can get materials for their classes.....Let's fuck over our fellow students for the sake of the UC students!
by graduatestudents
Friday Sep 25th, 2009 3:11 PM
Do you people realize that GSC is ALREADY student space? Only students work there. It's where Grad Student meetings are held. There is only one non-student, and that is a staff member who will probably get fired now, thanks to you.

It makes no sense. This does nothing to the campus operations. Administration is only too happy laughing at you that you left all their buildings alone and took over a completely student run space hurting only other students.
Prior to occupation the GSC was an exclusive space and a mockery of a student center. We at UCSC have no real student union, nothing more than lounges and study rooms.

This fact is especially relevant to our struggle. Regardless of the token 'student commons' they provide us, we have no autonomous free space. This kind of space is not given, it's taken. In many parts of the world, student movements, mostly in the 60s and 70s, have won truly autonomous and student-run spaces that are vital to student life and the production of knowledge in those places. At the UC, the idea of autonomous space seems unimaginable. This is because it is completely incompatible with the university system as it exists today.

The fact that a truly student-owned space could not exist within the university as it functions today is just one more indicator that the university as we know it is FUCKED UP. It is anti-democratic, disempowering, controlling and capitalistic. The occupation of space, of any space, regardless of whether it disrupts the functioning of a specific academic department or administrative office, is a concrete step toward claiming what should be our own, toward dismantling and re-imagining the university system.

Also, this occupation is not an end but a beginning. It is a launching point. What are we going for? Everything.

wewanteverything.wordpress.com
occupyca.wordpress.com
by Gene
Friday Sep 25th, 2009 8:22 PM
Folks (pay attention Tim) UCSC is not one school. It is several schools, Kresge, Porter, Cowell, Stevenson, etc. You do not graduate from UCSC you graduate from the college you belong to. Each college is smaller than UCSC as a whole and each college has it own common spaces. Since the colleges are smaller the common spaces are smaller. Don't ask me why it was set up this but it was. Seems damn inefficient to have so many individual colleges with their own provost and curriculum.
by Nishan
Saturday Sep 26th, 2009 12:06 AM
Hey Tim. You have it wrong. The GSC is completely student run, built, operated and funded. The University does not pay for it or control it. Have you noticed there are no cops trying to kick you out? Administers don't give a damn about it.

You and your genius friends are depriving your fellow students from using the only space on campus that does actually belong to students 100%. Grad students were walking in and out all the time, studying, organizing. Union meetings and student government meetings are all there.

I think you are all phonies. Don't even insult the concepts of anarchism or civil resistance, you really know nothing about it. You didn't have the balls to take over a real admin. building or that gross anchor of "Capital" on campus: the bookstore. So, just like you said in your own lame manifesto: you are reduced to attacking your fellow students as opposed to the people who are really responsible for the mess we are all in.
by Frez
Saturday Sep 26th, 2009 1:02 AM
I find myself to be skeptical and suspicious of the motivations behind the decision to occupy a student run space rather than a space/time where capitalist functions would come to a critical halt. However, I am confident that this is not the end as I am sure that occupation cannot be an end. Taking over/claiming/occupying resonates with the all to familiar desires of an economic system that has socialized nearly a whole world of people to perceive the environment around them as values there for the taking. Nevertheless, I am not disheartened by reflections of the conditions that I would soon love to depart from. That is because I believe that meaning making is generally a conservative process; we can mostly only work with the tools at hand. But like iron sharpened iron in the industrial revolutions that cauterized the wounds of increasingly destitute workers, our occupations today will be social strength tomorrow with the potential of confronting those who have stakes in the capitalist order of things on close to level turf.
by fresh
Saturday Sep 26th, 2009 2:27 AM
About fucking time somebody took over the "student" center. That whole place was paid for by student, self-assessed fees. IT BELONGS TO THE STUDENTS. Look it up: I have long ago when I helped start up a student run pizza place/multicultural center and they wanted to charge us tons of money. Students, the building is yours, you and past students paid for it, and it's not just for student bureaucrats to hold their meetings. OCCUPY!!!
by Danny Tang
Saturday Sep 26th, 2009 3:24 PM
its great the kind of action you are into. but where am i supposed to hold my section next week? i have an obligation to my students. how long will this last?
by Future of Action
Saturday Sep 26th, 2009 5:44 PM
I support your cause. I support occupation as a concept.

Beyond negotiating and demands being pointless, tell me more about this occupation. Historically, occupation was to have something in your court- something to negotiate with - a way to say "we're serious enough to take it and if you want it back, you'll have to .... ." I see you're serious enough to take it, but why this particular tactic without demands or negotiations?

I want to understand more so I can help. But I'm confused with the thinking. Please help me understand more about your generation and thinking. Thank you.

by UCSC Student Worker
Saturday Sep 26th, 2009 6:20 PM
Wow, this whole thing is pretty pitiful.

Don't you guys understand that the graffiti that you spew all over campus gets painted over with your funds. You wonder why the art buildings are running out of money, they have to pay to have all the crap on the walls removed (and that department has to pay UCSC's crew it clean it up). So in reality, you're just taking more money away from yourselves. That's how it works, I didn't "hear" about this, I actually spoke with the workers.

And I won't even comment on the pointlessness of taking over a student lounge, I think other people have already covered the topic.

You may think you're gaining more support, but start talking to people outside your protesting clique and you'll see you're driving away your own supporters.
by less so
Saturday Sep 26th, 2009 10:53 PM
My Dear Fellow Disparagers,
Do you you really think that tuition hikes and budget cuts occur because the university is having trouble affording the cleanup of graffiti? Surely it couldn't be that they are still attempting expansion in the face of economic recession. In a time when businesses are failing across the board, running your school like one is no longer only unethical, it is unpractical. The size of the salaries of the regents and administration members plainly shows that, past the money we put in their pockets, they are not quite interested in our educations. So, in truth, it cannot be UC greed behind the budget cuts. Class size for REQUIRED courses have been cut to 1) reduce the need to pay TAs, and 2) force students into 5-year college careers BECAUSE of graffiti. No, my money isn't paying to cleanup my graffiti, my money is going to pay Felicia McGinty. And she has to pay to cleanup my graffiti.

Occupying a building you already own makes sense if you don't feel like you own it. The formation of separate and distinct colleges at UCSC was a calculated measure to keep students from all meeting together regularly enough to create a strong student body. The occupation of the Grad Student Commons counters this by first of all making it very clear to everyone that there IS a student body with opinions of its own, and that there is a place to meet and be, and second of all, putting the process into the control of the students. If a mostly unorganized and probably small student group tried to take over an important administrative building as their first action, they would inevitably lose immediately. But now what they have done is put courage, excitement and energy into the hearts and minds of the other dissatisfied who suddenly know whose side they are on, and that they have the skills, knowledge and experience to occupy whatever they want; to move forward in their struggle for their own lives. The students have been empowered, something that cannot be begged or even demanded from the UC, it must be taken. And the dance party was pretty fucking raging.

Sure, some people feel inconvenienced by this excursion. Some even feel inconvenienced for others (my students might not like this; somebody -- not you obviously -- is going to have to clean up this graffiti). This is of course, unacceptable, so I thank you, My Dear Fellow Disparagers, for finding the exact ways to change the world, the university or our lives without stepping on any toes. Send me the gameplan, comrades.




If you need me, I will be in my office, waiting for you to change the world. "Occupy everything".
by caitlin manning
Sunday Sep 27th, 2009 9:48 AM
This is an inspiring and courgeous act. thanks for taking the lead on this fight to save public education and beyond
by UCSC Student Worker
Sunday Sep 27th, 2009 2:07 PM
I was commenting on ONE thing that disturbed me. Figure out how the graffiti clean up actually works before you claim to know. The clean up doesn't come from the administration/regents/chancellor (infact, they don't even know about what gets cleaned up), it comes from the department that owns the building. Last time I checked (two years ago), the graffiti cleanup for the year cost the university $60k, and that was before all the graffiti associated with the tree sitters disgrased our campus. Of course I know that's not why our fees have been increased, but that money has an opportunity cost.

Oh, and about the expansion of the campus. I actually spoke with the person in charge of the projects and all the building occurring right now is coming out of last year's budget. It takes awhile to plan projects on such a busy campus. And this is a FACT. I'm tired of everyone complaining about the expansion of the campus in a budget crisis... at least do some research for yourself before you jump on the bandwagon.

Its this propaganda that student's don't bother fact checking that pisses me off.

I'm just playing a lil devils advocate here, hopefully the protest organizers learn something from it. Good for you for doing something so extreme to try to be heard. But please, consider the fact that possibly some of your actions are causing you to lose more supporters than you're gaining.
by Wise Woman
Sunday Sep 27th, 2009 11:14 PM
If you all want to do something really radical, take over an administration building. Why take over the grad commons? It's funded with grad student money - and income from the restaurant. Period. Why not take over the Student Union too? That's funded with student money. There's more room there to stretch out and have yourselves a real good party.

Look, the cuts are terrible. But take your anger to the state capital, not your fellow students. a 10k a year education is still relatively inexpensive, and for most students, parents are footing the bill.

Take over the Student Affairs office at Hahn - now THAT's administration.
by trigger
Monday Sep 28th, 2009 3:13 AM
People keep making comments like "why did you only occupy the grad commons...why don't you occupy the administration building or something?"

But as I see it the whole point would be to turn the question around and ask the very people who are complaining on this blog, "why don't YOU people go occupy the administration building?!" The group's message, as I glean it, is that if you don't think they did enough, well then get off your ass and go do something.

From just a few minutes of reading the materials on the group it makes sense to me that they would begin with an occupation of the grad commons, since their goal is long term and not immediate. This way they can set up a base, organize, build broader support, and maybe rally some more people to their cause, before they occupy a building that will make the administration call in the swat team. If they had gone straight for the admin building, a bunch of riot cops would have come in immediately and this would all be over. Because they did it the way they did, this issue now has some attention, and they might be able to sustain something longer term. Smart tactic as far as I'm concerned.

by fresh
Monday Sep 28th, 2009 11:51 AM
totally agree with "smart tactics" sentiments. a truly autonomous ucsc student run space terrifies uc bureaucrats all the way up the chain. a place where students can come together and discus important issues of tuition, war, campus expansionism, etc. is super important. this a long term struggle with long term results. just watch out for student bureaucrats who will sell you out for their own dreams of future bureaucrapness..OCCUPATION GETS THE GOODS!
by graduatestudent
Monday Sep 28th, 2009 8:49 PM
this so-called 'tactic' is laughable. When the cops finally kick out these unwelcomed squatters, no student will have been funded, no staff jobs restored, no budgets balanced, no classes expanded NOTHNG except the self-congratulations of a bunch of sheltered WASPs. They will have cost the university thousands of dollars which will be promptly passed down to not just themselves but those poor students who are too busy working and studying right now (instead of clowning around).

everything else is just mental masturbation. This is about as effective as a squatting a dorm room.
by Bob
Tuesday Sep 29th, 2009 5:31 AM
Really, keep it up!
I need something that I can enjoy reading about while I have my coffee. This is terribly entertaining!
/troll
by Craig
Tuesday Sep 29th, 2009 9:33 AM
Now you've made national news, and not in a good way. Thanks for continuing to degrade the value of my degree from UCSC! Keep up the meaningless and ill-informed protests, whether it be climbing in trees, chaining yourselves to equipment, or taking over a student space to protest state-wide draconian cuts! Yay!

Maybe I can fake a degree from the University of Phoenix? Anything's gotta be better on the resume now...
by fresh
Tuesday Sep 29th, 2009 12:18 PM
i've been following/educating/involving myself for years in what's going on up at the UC, especially around autonomous student spaces. i encourage people to know the history of such autonomy, including the doing in of student run spaces Sluggo's and The JunXion. also Tent University of couple years back. also, see how a university as supposedly conservative at UCSD has many many independent/autonomous spaces (Che Cafe, Groundwork Books, Food Co-op, General Store, etc) and UCSC scant few that are not really autonomous. one super important thing here at ucsc is to know that IN FACT, the student center is bought and paid for with ucsc student fees. this fee is known as The Student Life Facilities Fee, 90 bucks per year.

http://reg.ucsc.edu/Fees/fees.html#undergradFees

this self-assessed fee pays for the student center and some recreation fees. thus, the Student Center is OWNED BY THE STUDENTS. this is super important as far as who should be occupying said space and if they should be paying rent, etc. The Student Center Governance Board is supposed to be regulating this, though they can be overruled by the vice chancellor of student affairs...this is definitely not an endorsement of said board, just another fact to consider. be very wary of these types of boards aquiescing to administration especially at crucial moments. also, going to such board meetings can be hazardous to your mental/etc. health. love and rage.
by Wise Woman
Tuesday Sep 29th, 2009 2:03 PM
A completely ineffectual effort. Not-ready-for-prime-time protestors. A waste of your idealism, a stealing of wages from student staff who run the place. Police don't give a damn if you take it over -- it's going to take YOUR money to repair it and clean it when you've gone.

Get a life.
by How ironic
Tuesday Sep 29th, 2009 5:55 PM
"Occupying" your own building to show your defiance to the University?

That strikes me as about as effective as an 8 year old staging a sit-in in his room to protest being grounded by his/her parents....and as about as mature.

by luckyluck
Tuesday Sep 29th, 2009 9:24 PM
Occupation is only a means. Good luck!
by to Greece
Wednesday Sep 30th, 2009 6:32 AM
Show us some love, Greece.
Show us some love!
Ineffectual, huh? It's better than sitting on your ass doing nothing and watching TV and getting fatter and fatter as your life declines to its miserable end. If things are getting bad, then you do something about them. Colleges run off tuition from undergrads, cheap labor from grad students, and grants from government and industry (from which the college carves off a 40% "administration fee"). The school is in business to make money, and it seems to be doing a good job of it, look at how the administrators are paid. If the grad students stop being a source of cheap labor and unionize, they might have a fighting chance of making the whole thing worthwhile. The same goes for the undergrads, especially if they do menial labor for the school. Stand up for your rights. Hey "Wise Woman", you're not so wise after all.
First, I work on campus and get paid better than any of my friends. At $14/hr, I'm happy to be a student worker.

Second, maybe you would be sitting on your ass getting fatter if you weren't busy protesting, but I'm too busy actually learning. I have 14hr days going to class/studying/working/researching. Its sad how many people aren't getting anything out of their education. Try actually getting involved in your learning process. Have fun protesting while I am actually learning something and go on to do something I actually love doing. Hell, means parking is easier.

Stop complaining and start getting the full benefit of your parent's money. And I think most grad students agree, its not about how much you're getting paid, its about researching in amazing labs and getting an actual education.
by Rusty
Wednesday Oct 7th, 2009 7:08 AM
I'm all for student activism and I am all for the UC system, which is extremely hard it, regrouping and reinvigorating itself. I work for a university myself (although not in CA). But what do you think you've accomplished here? A couple headlines, perhaps? I look at your "demands" and find only vagueness. Isn't your struggle really with an economic downturn and a history of overspending in your state? Why "occupy" your own buildings? Why fight the institution? Why not fight with the institution which wants the same things you do?

I suspect that many of the student protests today, as in my day, have in mind the template laid down before them by '60s style, take-it-to-the-streets activism, which is just silly in your situation. Now is the time to grow up and out of that mess.

Good luck UC.
by ben
Sunday Oct 18th, 2009 6:00 PM
wow I can definately see why an occupation would make sense. And dear anon making 14 bucks an hour and being so busy with working /studying etc. DOesnt that look a bit like slavery? Isnt that exactly what your fellow students are fighting for? Not having to work your ass off to be able to study?
by Santa Cruz
Wednesday May 19th, 2010 9:02 AM
augie-zigon_ucsc-pd.jpg
augie-zigon_ucsc-pd.jpg

Captain Augie Zigon makes over 100k a year.