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Why We're Here and What We're Fighting For (on the UC Regents protest)
The following text was extracted from a flyer passed out at the UC Regents protest today, Oct. 18, 2006, by the organizers of the action. As the media misinformation about the demonstration hits the community, it's important for all of us to know the concerns that the students and workers were demanding be addressed.
Why We’re Here and What We’re Fighting For
A letter to the UC Santa Cruz community on the UC Regents’ visit
What are our concerns?
- The Regents are illegitimate, undemocratic and unaccountable
- Many UC workers continue to receive undignified and unlivable wages
- Our student fees continue to skyrocket as top-admins receive lavish bonuses
- The numerous social, environmental and educational repercussions of campus expansion
- The need to diversify the students and faculty, as well as provide racial & ethnic studies options
- The need to fully fund Student Initiated Outreach (SIO), retention, and academic prep programs
- The need to create a safe haven for immigrant/AB540 students
- The need to reprioritize academics, upping the quality of education (including supporting languages, writing, and journalism; ensuring teaching assistants for all classes that need them, etc).
- Immoral UC weapons research, including nuclear bombs at Lawrence Livermore and Los Alamos
What are we asking for?
1) Democratization of the UC system and UCSC
2) Fix It First! Before we even discuss the possible expansion of the campus, we need to seriously address the core issues that face our community (some of which are listed above). If this is not done, an expansion of the campus will also mean an expansion of the problems. If there are the resources to consider expansion, there are the resources to fix our university.
Why protest the UC Regents’ visit?
The UC Regents are the people in the UC system that ultimately call the shots. They’re undemocratic appointees who are concerned more with their personal interests than our education. When our tuition is raised, even when the UC system makes millions in profits, it’s because of the Regents. When nuclear weapons are designed in UC-run labs, it’s because of the Regents. And when affirmative action was banned in the UC system, it was because of the Regents (a ban that was only rescinded through years of struggle).
When we protest, we’re not only saying that we don’t recognize the legitimacy of the UC Regents, but that it is they, amongst others, who have caused the problems that we demand be fixed.
But why mess with the public comment period?
We know that many in our community have serious issues that need to be communicated with the Regents. But we also know that the Regents have no real desire to address our concerns. It’s been 5 years since they’ve visited UCSC – and yet they just hold a couple short comment periods, giving us mere seconds to speak? Even this they do not because they’re interested in what we have to say, but because they’re required by law to hold public comment periods whenever they get together.
We’ve been to Regents’ meetings. We’ve made our speeches. We’ve tried to make them listen. But all they do is laugh, turn their backs, take naps, and kick us out of their meetings. The public comment period is not our few minutes of opportunity, but a farce intended to hold up an undemocratic and unaccountable system. When we reject this comment period and hold our own community speak-out, we are taking back our voices, taking back our university, and showing the world how we really feel.
Next steps from here
This is just the beginning. We’ve been silent too long as our university has been systematically undermined. Unless we continue our fight, the university we applied to will not be the university we graduate from. We can’t assume that those in power will make the right decisions - it’s not in their interests. Instead we have to trust ourselves. Its time we put the university in responsible hands – our own!
Concerned members of the UCSC community, including folks from AFSCME 3299, Asian/Pacific Islander Student Alliance (APISA), Bay Area Anarchist Council, Coalition of University Employees (CUE), Disorientation Guide, engaging education (e2), Labor Film Collective, Movimiento Estudiantil Chicana y Chicano de Aztlan (MEChA), Movement for Immigrant Rights Alliance (MIRA), The Project, Rainbow Theater, Save Our Languages (SOL), Students Against War (SAW), Students Informing Now (SIN), Student and Worker Coalition for Justice (SWCJ), Third World and Native American Students Press Collective (TWANAS), and United Auto Workers Members for Quality Education and Democracy (UAW-QUAD).