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East Bay | Education & Student Activism

UC Berkeley Protests
by Omiso
Wednesday Nov 18th, 2009 3:07 PM
In solidarity with students, faculty, and staff

In defense of public education in California

We call for a massive, system-wide student and teaching strike beginning November 18th

http://ucstrike.com/

No Business as Usual:
A Call for a System-Wide Strike

Once again the UC Regents will meet to vote on another proposed student fee increase: now a particularly unbearable 32% over two semesters, last summer 9%. If this increase is approved, the cost of a UC education will have tripled since 2000.

This, finally, we refuse. As students, as teachers, as workers — we will not support it.

We have been told that such increases are inevitable. We have been told that like the furloughs, layoffs and cuts to services and departments, this new source of suffering has its cause in the fiscal crisis of the State of California. But one month after declaring an "extreme financial emergency," and "saving" $170 million by furloughing employees, UC chose to take on $1.35 billion in new debt for 70 construction projects. Our fees have been pledged as collateral for these construction bonds. A recent report suggests that some UC administrators are willing to sacrifice affordability to avoid accountability, that they would rather raise fees than receive additional state funding with its requirements of budgetary transparency. The UC administration has made its priorities clear: construction over instruction, buildings over people.

This, finally, we refuse. As students, as teachers, as workers — we will not support it.

All the while we have been paying more for less. We are paying more for fewer classes, and for classes with larger enrollments. We are paying more for fewer instructors, for closed libraries, for closed department offices, for cancelled programs. We are paying more for fewer staff and for staff working longer hours for less pay. We are paying more for a degree it will take us an extra semester to complete. We are paying more for an institution barricaded against the next generation of high school students, more for an institution which crowds out students of color, which makes those already struggling to get by shoulder the burden of the crisis. What have we received in exchange for these additional fees, if not more faculty or more resources? The answer: more management. In ten years, administrative positions have increased five times faster than the number of faculty. The estimated cost of this excessive bureaucracy is approximately $800 million, enough to pay the fees of over 100,000 students.

This, finally, we refuse. As students, as teachers, as workers — we will not support it.

The walkout of Sept. 24th and the subsequent actions indicate the beginning of a powerful movement with the ability to transform the UC and education in the US. But we must be cognizant of the ability of UCOP and the campus administrations to deflect our actions. The administration has so far avoided accountability, refusing to even acknowledge or respond to the demands of the Sept. 24th movement. Walking out of our classes—as students and teachers—and striking—as workers—is a powerful threat. But to the extent that we call for an event with a predetermined end-date, we risk a purely symbolic action. Walkouts, strikes, library sit-ins: these are powerful because they affect the university materially as well as symbolically.

We therefore call for a massive, system-wide student and teaching strike beginning on the second day of the Regents meeting — November 18th — and continuing if the Regents vote to increase fees and continue with the furlough program. Every sector of every UC must participate if this action is to be successful. It is also our hope that this strike can be extended to include the CSU and Community College systems.

We refuse to allow the university to continue with business as usual when students, instructors, and workers are bearing the impossible weight of cuts and fee increases. This will require solidarity. We must agree, as different sectors of the campus, to defend each other absolutely: faculty must agree to defend graduate student and worker jobs, graduate students and faculty must agree to defend the records of students and the jobs of staff. Students must agree to protest and take action in the event of retaliations against other groups.

We demand that the Regents vote no on the proposed fee increases.

We demand that the UC stop cuts and layoffs, and end its aggressive union-busting tactics.

We demand transparency of the UC budget, including complete figures on how much of the additional revenue from fees will be diverted for construction and used as bond collateral.

We demand that the Regents expand enrollment of underrepresented groups and ensure equal access to education for all by maintaining all educational institutions as sanctuary spaces for undocumented students and workers and by providing adequate financial aid for undocumented and underrepresented students.

We demand an explanation for the failure of the UC leadership to make an effective case for public higher education. As both students and taxpayers, we demand leaders who can make that case, and an administration whose transparency can once again inspire the confidence of the state and its citizens.

If you support this action, please sign above.
http://ucstrike.com/
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by Omiso Wednesday Nov 18th, 2009 3:07 PM

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by Omiso Wednesday Nov 18th, 2009 3:07 PM

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by Omiso Wednesday Nov 18th, 2009 3:07 PM