Solidarity Letter October 7th Walkout & Day of Action for Public Education
Sign the Solidarity Letter to let our State Legislators know that you walked out or why you are still standing with us in solidarity for the Thursday OCT 7, 2010 Day of Action for Public Education!
We're facing even more decrease in enrollment of minority groups, UC workers and faculty being laid off. Retirement plan cuts for workers and faculty while retirement plans increase for executives.
Moreover, the Regents our gambling away our UC investment dollars so they may get even richer. While cuts are being made to University student programs, services, departments, and students fall into more debt to pay off their education. Enough is enough!
- California State Senate
- California Governor
Over the last school year, we at the UC system have seen tuition increase by 32% and massive cuts throughout every sector of our campuses, from academic departments to maintenance staffing. This is old news.
Just this semester, the UC Berkeley Chancellor announced his intention to eliminate 200 campus faculty and staff positions. He also announced that the Chicano Studies and Asian American Studies Majors may disappear, and there have been a 12% drop in Latino admissions.
Meanwhile, investigative reporter Peter Byrne has uncovered some disturbing facts about the UC Regent’s use of the UC’s investment fund. In 2003, three Regents restructured the UC’s investment fund, investing in risky financial instruments, making themselves richer, but students and workers poorer, in the process. (http://berkeleydailyplanet.com/issue/2010-09-21/article/36292?headline=The-Investors-Club-How-the-University-of-California-Regents-Spin-Public-Money-into-Private-Profit) To put it shortly:
Many of these deals, while potentially lucrative, have lost significant amounts of money for UC’s retirement and endowment funds, which were worth $63 billion at the end of 2009. (These losses ultimately reduce the amount spent on education, since the endowment supports teaching activities.) And the non-transparency of these private deals enabled multiple conflicts of interest to arise without challenge.
You can rest assured knowing that every time UC student fees go up, UC Regent Richard Blum, with his investments in for-profit private colleges, gets a little bit richer. As if to add insult to injury, at the last Regents meeting the Regents voted unanimously to cut pensions for the UC’s lowest paid workers and to increase the pensions of the UC’s 250 highest paid employees. This news comes only a few short weeks after the New York Times and other major news agencies reported that, before moving to his new mansion in Lafayette, UC President Mark Yudof racked up $70,000 worth of damages to his previous UC mansion.
Yet for students, they are asked to take out more loans that force them into jobs they don’t like to pay off debt they can’t afford for the privilege of getting a lower quality education. While they are told to move along when they voice their reasonable conclusions: that the crisis of their university is not just a lack of state funding, that UC administrators give the public little reason to believe that new funds will be used in a reasonable or just manner, and that the governance structure of the UC is fundamentally flawed.
Over the last year, tens of thousands of UC students, workers, and faculty stood up, walked out, sat-in, occupied, and disrupted business as usual, forcing the Governor to restore funding to public higher education. His chief of staff, Susan Kennedy, stated “those protests on the U.C. campuses were the tipping point. Our university system is going to get the support it deserves.”
And while we waited for the materialization of those hollow words (the California budget was over 4 months late, the restorations are not enough, and they have come from cuts to essential social services, K-12 Education, and Community Colleges), we again look to the students of the U.C., as well as the workers, faculty, and community members with whom we’ve built solidarity over the last year, for the strength to change the status quo.
Thus, this message we send our Administrators and legislators is that we need them to know that the current order of business can no longer stand. The current order of business says that we should stay quiet and obedient, that politics is complicated, that if we vote (and just vote) everything will be better, and that it is natural to spend trillions on war, prisons, and tax breaks and little on education, jobs, and social services. The current order of business stands against direct action and movement-oriented organizing, but only a movement can offer the kind of change we seek.
This is why we: the UC students, faculty, workers, and community members participated in the October 7th Walkout and Day of Action. We made ourselves collectively heard, organize a mass movement, and will continue to fight back against austerity cuts and the privatization of everything.
We will continue the struggle to restore the public good and we will always continue to remember that this struggle is not about us. We are fighting this battle for our universities, for the people who work in them, for the families of California with foreclosed futures, and the children of California whose dreams we are told are too expensive to fund.
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