New Action and Awareness Makes Protest Worthwhile

Related Articles »

  • Printer Friendly Printer Friendly
  • Comments Comments (0)

(Editor's Note: This was submitted before the final UC Regents' vote.)

As we write these words, it seems inevitable that the UC Board of Regents will vote to approve a 32 percent increase in student fees. We are angered by these actions and saddened by what they will mean for so many UC families and students who will be economically driven out. But despite these harsh measures, we are heartened by what took place on Wednesday, and we don't think our efforts are in vain. Rather than seeing the end of a public institution, we witnessed the beginning of a movement that is growing more powerful by the day to resist cuts and transform our university.

We write this as UC staff and as members of the University Professional and Technical Employees (UPTE) are on strike. We also write after two bargainers for our union were laid off in September for reasons that are tied to our union activity. This retaliation against UPTE bargainers formed the legal basis for our strike. But the strike is much more. As union members, we have been engaged in many other struggles with UC administration. This one is about hope.

This view does not stem from either the regents or UC President Mark Yudof. From them, we still see a governing body that has yet to disclose the necessity of a 32 percent fee hike, the first round of which will take place next spring. Even though alternatives were clearly presented-cut waste, reduce spending on top administrators and tap into billions of dollars in reserves and other sources of income such as medical center profits-these possibilities were ignored. The regents' statements about UC fees lagging behind the public universities in New York, Illinois and Michigan reveal their corporate mentality. Increases are justified because tuition is deemed to be "below market"? It's clear they prioritize profits over people.

But now there is hope. We have seen a shift in the movement to resist these policies. The level of solidarity among the students, staff and faculty is at an all-time high at the University of California. There is a uniform understanding that while a long-term fix must be found with state funding, short-term solutions could be provided by the administration-if it deemed affordable education to be a priority.

Two months ago, both Yudof and UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau did their best to portray the protests in September as aimed towards Sacramento. However, when hundreds linked arms to barricade California Hall this past Wednesday, it became obvious that we do not accept their talking points and are willing to escalate our actions. When batons and tasers were used against students at UCLA, it became clear that the regents are aware of our resolve. And they are scared.

They should be scared. We see a movement that understands the steps the administration could be taking. We see a movement that knows the struggle is part of a much broader fight for public education. And we see a movement that is willing to fight. This is our university and we are taking it back.

Dieskau Reed is a bargainer for UPTE. Tanya Smith is president of UPTE. Reply to [email protected]

Comments (0) »

Comment Policy
The Daily Cal encourages readers to voice their opinions respectfully in regards to both the readers and writers of The Daily Californian. Comments are not pre-moderated, but may be removed if deemed to be in violation of this policy. Comments should remain on topic, concerning the article or blog post to which they are connected. Brevity is encouraged. Posting under a pseudonym is discouraged, but permitted. Click here to read the full comment policy.
White space
Left Arrow
Image Professor Healey's denial of tenure is not right
As the semester comes to a close, our campus is quietly losing ...Read More»
Image President Trump is a nightmare
So I'm sleeping peacefully one night until a dark thought pops into my mind...Read More»
Image Koch money influences climate science
The threat of corporate funding influencing climate change research and pol...Read More»
Image Bin Laden's death no reason to celebrate
Well, we've done it. We've killed the man who started it all. We've destroy...Read More»
Image David Crane is unfit to serve as a member of the U...
The flattering article on David Crane that appe...Read More»
Image I-House leadership is unfriendly to workers
I am one of a number of residents who requested and attended a forum at ...Read More»
Right Arrow

Job Postings

White Space