University of California, Santa Cruz
UC Santa Cruz students block all access to campus to protest cuts to public education
Students to Sacramento and UC admins: “We strike to restore California’s commitment to public education for all people!”
CALIFORNIA STRIKE! We strike in solidarity with students, workers, teachers, and all Californians who support public education against elected officials and UC administrators who have gutted funding, threatened accessibility, and damaged the quality of California’s education system, from pre-K through community colleges, CSU, and UC.
In order to truly appreciate just how absurd the Regents’ and UCOP’s austerity program at the UC really is, just consider several facts that state and UC leaders would rather you not think too much about:
1. The UC Regents have ultimate control of over $8 BILLION in investments that they’ve chosen not to use to save public education at UC
2. Between 1996 and 2006, UC administrative positions have increased an eye-popping 118% compared to a 34% increase in faculty positions and 33% increase in student enrollment over the same period. There are 3,600 positions in the UC that earn more than $200,000, yet here at UCSC, we’re being told our foreign language instructors must be laid-off, workers must take furloughs, and classes must be eliminated or maxed-out in enrollment to operate more “efficiently.”
3. In the midst of the UC’s financial crisis, UC actually loaned $200 million to California to help cover the state’s budget deficit!
4. Despite UCOP’s resort to high-power media consultants who are trying to convince the public that their celebrated “Blue and Gold” financial aid program will offset the 32% tuition increases, the truth is that the “high tuition, high aid” model that UC is pursuing has a negative affect on accessibility for lower-income students, especially those from under-represented groups, in part because students are more likely to apply to schools based on the published tuition rates, not on how much aid they think they might get.
5. In California, the rich continue to get richer: Governor Schwarzenegger’s “Commission on the 21st Century Economy” baldly proposed in late 2009 an income tax cut for the wealthiest 3% that amounted to $7.5 billion in savings, while the bottom 81% of the population would realize only 10% of the total savings in their “reform” plan. Households with $1 million incomes would save $109,000 in tax cuts, whereas those making between $40,000 and $50,000 would only save $4. This is not a typo.
So it is quite obvious that the cuts to public education in Sacramento are another form of class war by the rich against the middle and lower classes, with a disproportionate burden falling on students of color, workers, and those who can least afford it. The UC Regents, most of whom are counted among California’s super-rich, are dancing to the same tune as Sacramento by protecting UC’s Wall Street investments instead of protecting the system of public education they oversee.
What we want (demands voted on by the March 4th Strike Committee):
* Reverse the cuts, lay-offs, and fee hikes—no more cuts to education
* Progressive taxation on the wealthy and corporations to fund education and social services, not war and corporate bail outs
* Reject Schwarzenegger’s plan to fund education by privatizing prisons
From UC system:
* Stop the privatization of education
* Stop the resegregation of education—full funding for student services and support programs, especially for students of color and underrepresented communities
* Democratize education—student, teacher, and worker control in the schools
* Drop all charges against student activists—stop UC and police harassment against activists
March 4 actions:
* Picket lines at all campus entrances from 5 a.m.
* Rallies at the main entrance (Bay and High Streets) at 9 a.m. and noon
* General Assembly at 5 p.m. at the main entrance
From: Some UCSC Faculty (signatures below)
We write to object to CPEVC Kliger’s report issued on Thursday March 4 at 9:50 am regarding the demonstration.
It is true that the demonstration successfully stopped “business as usual” on the UCSC campus. While this may have represented an inconvenience for some, it perhaps bears repeating that no significant social change occurs without some inconvenience.
Many faculty participated in the campus closure, some for the entire day, starting early in the morning. A number of us who were present at the two main entrances and at key intersections throughout the day can say with confidence that metal pipes, clubs, and knives were nowhere to be seen.
Further, the many health care workers who arrived at the two entrances were allowed to enter campus with almost no delay. Indeed, the student organizers had created an orderly and respectful protocol for speaking with people in cars who were attempting to enter the campus. Testament to their understanding of the complexities of choosing to close campus, the strike organizers had made arrangements with Family Student Housing for easy and safe access and egress. Additionally, we did not witness anyone being prevented (by protesters) from leaving the campus.
The students organizing the campus closure also made arrangements for incident monitoring and witnessing. Several received training from the National Lawyer’s Guild; there were also NLG legal observers whose role it was to remain neutral and to document. We hope these observers will attest to the specifics of reported incidents.
Some of us witnessed drivers aggressively trying to break through lines of protesters, a dangerous reaction to peaceful protest that the administration has referred to as “road rage.”
To our knowledge, administrators from Student Affairs were nowhere to be found. Campus administrative leadership was also notably absent.
The event was an impressive example of the ability of our students to educate themselves and others about the state of the California budget and the increasing privatization and corporatization of the UC and public education in California generally. Further, the event demonstrated students’ capacity to build coalitions among various university groups and with other sectors of public education and organized labor, which were represented in the rallies on campus and in downtown Santa Cruz on Thursday.
We think that the administrative leadership of UCSC should recognize the students’ commitment to defend public education in calling attention to the ongoing crisis with a day of public action.
Jordi Aladro Professor, Literature
Mark Anderson Assistant Professor, Anthropology
Anjali Arondekar Associate Professor, Feminist Studies
Noriko Aso Assistant Professor, History
Gopal Balakrishnan Associate Professor, History of Consciousness
Karen Bassi Professor, Literature and Classics
Hunter Bivens Assistant Professor, Literature
Margaret Brose Professor Emerita, Literature
Giulia Centineo Lecturer, Languages
Alan Christy Associate Professor, History
Vilashini Cooppan Associate Professor, Literature
Cindy Cruz Assistant Professor, Education
Nathaniel Deutsch Professor, History and Literature
Timothy P. Duane Associate Professor, Environmental Studies
Dana Frank Professor, History
Carla Freccero Professor, Literature
Rosa-Linda Fregoso Professor, Latin American and Latino Studies
Ron Glass Associate Professor, Education
Deborah Gould Assistant Professor, Sociology
Chris Hables Gray Lecturer, Crown College
Herman Gray Professor, Sociology
Miriam Greenberg Assistant Professor, Sociology
Jody Greene Associate Professor, Literature
Kirsten Silva Gruesz Professor, Literature
Gildas Hamel SOE Lecturer, History
Donna Haraway Distinguished Professor, History of Consciousness
Christine Hong Assistant Professor, Literature
Emily Honig Professor, History
Sharon Kinoshita Professor, Literature
Norma Klahn Professor, Literature
Regina Langhout Assistant Professor, Psychology
H. Marshall Leicester Professor, Literature
Leslie Lopez Lecturer, Latin American and Latino Studies, Writing
Helene Moglen Professor Emerita, Literature
Juan Poblete Associate Professor, Literature & Provost, Kresge College
Eric Porter Professor, American Studies
Catherine Ramírez Associate Professor, American Studies
Renya Ramirez Associate Professor, American Studies
Craig Reinarman Professor, Sociology
Don Rothman Emeritus SOE Senior Lecturer, Writing
Danilyn Rutherford Associate Professor, Anthropology
Felicity Schaeffer-Grabiel Assistant Professor, Feminist Studies
Zack Schlesinger Professor, Physics
Vanita Seth Associate Professor, Politics
Deanna Shemek Professor, Literature & Provost, Cowell College
Dana Takagi Professor, Sociology
Richard Terdiman Professor, Literature
Megan Thomas Assistant Professor, Politics
Rob Wilson Professor, Literature
Karen Tei Yamashita Professor, Literature
The undersigned, though not present when these events took place, would like to add their names in support of this letter:
Christopher Connery Professor, Literature
Shelly Errington Professor, Anthropology
Barbara Epstein Professor, History of Consciousness
Susan Gillman Professor, Literature
Gail Hershatter Distinguished Professor, History
Robert Meister Professor of Social and Political Thought
March 4, 2010
To: UCSC Community
Fr: Campus Provost David Kliger
Re: Update on Campus Protest
Earlier this morning, protest activity at both campus entrances rendered our main campus inaccessible to vehicle traffic. Reports of protesters carrying clubs and knives, smashing a car windshield with a metal pipe, denying a resident of faculty/student housing the right to exit the campus, and keeping a campus health care worker from getting to work, escalated this morning’s protest into behavior that is disruptive, intimidating and destructive.
Behavior that degrades into violence, personal intimidation, and disrespect for the rights of others is reprehensible, and does nothing to aid efforts to restore funding to the university.
These actions should cease. University police, Student Affairs staff, and others are doing their best to manage this situation. In the meantime, we commend members of our community for their patience.
Please continue to check the campus website http://www.ucsc.edu/news_events/protest/03-10/ for updates.
Message from the Chancellor
As the campus returns to full operations, I want to acknowledge the toll yesterday’s protests took on the campus community and renew our commitment to the students we are here to serve.
Thousands of UCSC students, faculty, and staff were impacted by yesterday’s demonstrations, which were part of a national Day of Action in Support of Public Education. It was a difficult day for many, and I thank you for your patience and understanding.
Many people went to extraordinary efforts yesterday to fulfill myriad aspects of the university’s three-part mission of teaching, research, and public service. Under trying circumstances, faculty and staff made numerous adjustments, and I appreciate their professionalism and flexibility. Ultimately, students bore the real brunt of yesterday’s events, as they were inconvenienced and many were unable to attend their classes.
There’s no question that the state’s reinvestment in public education is critical. I urge you to join me in advocating on behalf of UC Santa Cruz as we refocus our attention on continuing the upward trajectory of this great institution.