Collective Resistance

Rather than protesting as separate groups, students, faculty and staff should lobby the state Legislature collectively.

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From larger classes to forced furlough days, the UC faculty have experienced their fair share of sacrifice in dealing with budget cuts. But we hope that in responding to these struggles, the faculty protest in ways that don't exacerbate the problems students are already facing.

A letter written by UC Berkeley Professor Catherine Cole addresses how UC President Mark Yudof's allocation of budget cuts has undermined the university's democratic character and how UC stakeholders should respond. The letter also mentions that "the Academic Council unanimously supported the concept that furloughs should affect instructional days."

On top of the faculty's support of using instructional furlough days, professors have raised the possibility of a faculty walk-out in protest of the cuts. We recognize the faculty's right to stand up to administrators and we understand how difficult it must be to work with less pay and less help. But students have been saddled with higher fees, reduced course offerings and fewer job opportunities. Any lost time with professors in the classroom will be an added burden for students.

That's not to say that the faculty and students should do nothing.The state's fiscal crisis is a major problem, which may seem insurmountable. And this year, the cuts to public higher education may have been inevitable. But we must remember that this is part of a long-term trend in which the state has continually under-funded the UC, CSU and community college systems. Frankly, it's unlikely that this will change next year.

Coming together in a time of crisis and actively resisting the status quo are not irreconcilable ideas. In fact, if all impacted parties came together to demand that the Legislature fully fund public higher education, as Chancellor Birgeneau suggested, maybe we'll yield better results than through other symbolic acts of protest. Though some professors are waiting to take action until next year, we urge you to act now-write or call your assembly member, state senator and the governor; attend Cal Lobby day; get informed. In short, though it may seem like we don't have many options to make a difference, it certainly doesn't hurt to try.






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