Central Valley
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UC Davis solidarity with UCSC striking grad students
by UC Davis Solidarity
Tuesday Dec 10th, 2019 2:30 PM
We UC Davis graduate students, undergraduate students, campus workers, and alumni fully support the striking graduate students at UC Santa Cruz and their demands for a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) in one of the most expensive areas to live in the world(1). Graduate students perform essential labor for the university, teaching classes, grading assignments, and helping students in office hours. The University administration knows exactly how much we get paid and how much housing costs, and yet for countless years now they have refused to do anything to alleviate the crisis at Santa Cruz, at Davis, and beyond.
At UC Davis in 2014 the administration emptied out Orchard Park, one of only two affordable housing complexes on campus, and the lot on Russell Boulevard has since sat vacant. Meanwhile, 7% of UC Davis students, 2,400 in total, faced homelessness at some point last year, with hundreds having to sleep in their cars(2). The UC administration has also tried to vacate the last remaining affordable housing complex, Solano Park, and they have only been stopped by student protests. During this time they have convened committee after committee to investigate the housing issue, but they keep getting an answer they don’t want to hear: that affordability is the number one issue concerning students and that they can’t charge more for rent than they pay graduate student workers. In response, they just scrap the findings and form a new committee the next year.

In 2010 the UC Office of the President itself released a report saying that for the first time in UC history the majority of accepted graduate students have chosen a competitor school over the UC, and the #1 reason was pay and cost of living(3). UC graduate programs are becoming less competitive, and the UC’s only response has been to fight graduate student workers at the bargaining table to keep their pay down, first in 2013-14 and again in 2018.

So after nearly a decade of the UC administration knowing the nature and extent of the problem and opposing every opportunity to do something about it, it seems that the situation has reached a tipping point at UCSC, and graduate students there have bravely and fiercely stated “No COLA, No Grades!” We, the below signed graduate students, undergraduate students, campus workers, and alumni fully support the grade strike of the UCSC graduate students, and we hope their action can lead to a prompt response from the administration to truly solve the housing crisis across the UC.

(1)Business Insider reports Santa Cruz in the 7th most expensive city to live in in the world, in 2018.
(2)Davis Vanguard reporting on UC Davis Student Housing Affordability and Insecurity Report for 2017-18.
(3)Daily Cal reporting on the UC Office of the President report and the UAW 2865 response.

[Follow link for signatories]

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