UC Faculty Plan Walkout to Protest Recent Budget Cuts

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Talk of a faculty walkout is circulating throughout the UC system in what some call an effort to expose the impact of budget cuts on campus.

Two UC Berkeley professors are among 16 in the UC system who signed a letter calling for a faculty walkout on Sept. 24, the first day of the fall quarter at the other UC campuses.

Although budget cuts figured into the letter, some faculty said they signed it because they felt shut out of the decision-making process by the UC administration.

"I feel it's necessary for us to show that UCOP's unilateral decision would not be met with passivity or simple complacence," said Catherine Liu, an associate professor of film and media studies at UC Irvine.

Several faculty members expressed a desire to hold furlough days, or unpaid days off, on instructional days to help draw students' attention to the issue, a request that was denied by the UC administration.

But Peter King, UCOP director of media relations, said the decision was made to prevent students from bearing an additional burden.

"We simply just don't agree that making students take one more dose of pain is consistent with the values of our plan in this crisis, which is to have a fair and shared pain throughout the system, as much as possible," he said.

Still, faculty said they are not trying to harm students by holding a walkout. Instead, they maintain students are more hurt by tuition hikes and larger class sizes.

"The students will be shortchanged because the quality of education will be going down," said Barbara Epstein, a history of consciousness professor at UC Santa Cruz.

While the specifics of the walkout, such as whether it will feature a teach-in for students and community members, are being discussed, faculty members said the main purposes of the walkout are to increase student awareness and demonstrate faculty commitment to the issue.

"We believe a full walkout-not meeting classes, respecting the strike, standing in solidarity with the workers and engaging with students as equals in the struggle to defend public education-will make our cases most clearly to the administration," said Joshua Clover, an associate professor of English at UC Davis, in an e-mail.

The walkout, which has been endorsed by the American Association of University Professors, will coincide with a previously scheduled strike by the local University Professional and Technical Employees union, which represents 12,000 university employees.

However, the UC Berkeley Division of the Academic Senate did not address the issue of a walkout at its meeting on Wednesday, and it remains unclear if they will endorse the action. There have been no requests to put the item on the meeting agenda, according to chair Christopher Kutz.

Tags: FURLOUGHS, WALKOUT


Contact Amy Brooks and Angelica Dongallo at [email protected]



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