Archive for the ‘California’ Category

“An Open Letter From a UCSD Faculty Member to UCSD’s New Chancellor.”

In California, Privatization on May 25, 2012 at 3:36 pm

Dear Chancellor Koshla:


I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Literature as well as an affiliated faculty of Ethnic Studies and the Critical Gender Studies Program. I am also the Vice President of the San Diego Faculty Association, a local chapter of the American Association of American Universities (AAUP). As you may know, this organization has fought hard for academic freedom and faculty rights across the nation. I am one of the faculty members who joined the Black Student Union, Mecha and other student organizations to protest the racist, homophobic, sexist, and classist incidents that occurred on our campus in 2010. Finally, I am a supporter of labor groups on campus, especially AFSME. While you look forward to a six digit salary and many other perks, our brothers and sisters from AFSME are being asked to work more hours for the same or less money while putting their health at severe risk,


I‘m not telling you all of this to legitimize myself or to speak for any of these groups. I am letting you know who I am and who I have been in contact with for the past seven years – years in which I have listened and heard many concerns. I am writing this letter to express one concern that is shared by many: Like many students, faculty, and workers, I never had the opportunity to ask you questions in an open, unscripted forum when you were a candidate (hint: organize such a forum. It is never too late). I read with curiosity and attention your interview in The Guardian, ( and I have some doubts, questions and comments about your responses.


In response to a question about the future direction of the university, you said that UCSD “has achieved a lot in the last 50 years. And it has achieved that partly because of the entrepreneurial nature of the faculty, partly because of strong leadership and partly because of both.” My Translation: you are mostly concerned about the profit making centers of the University, mainly the hospitals and research centers that are connected to federal grants and corporate interests. Many of us are not surprised that you see the university as a corporation and yourself as a CEO. We know that you managed a $50 million portfolio for DARPA (a military agency) and that you served as a consultant for several companies and venture capitalists. However, we are also (still?) part of this public university, and we ask you: Do those of us who are not entrepreneurs or revenue generators have a place at UCSD? Do those who work in academic fields that promote the public good over profit-motives have a future (and a past) at UCSD?

The typical response to this concern is that UCSD development teams are working on raising funds for the Humanities and those fields that cannot support themselves. It is always so interesting how administrators label the things they like to expend money on (i.e. buildings, chancellor’s salaries) as “investments,” while the things they don’t like to expend money on (i.e. student services, humanities departments) are labeled as “costs.” The problem, however, is that even accepting your philanthropic logic, there are entire fields of knowledge and disciplines that “do not get donors excited.” Are we condemned, then, to sacrifice entire fields of knowledge on the altar of corporate interests? Is that going to promote the public interest and world quality education in the state of California?


When you were asked about the possibility of increasing students fees 6% in the fall, you said you wished there was a magic bullet to avoid tuition increases. You added that without this magic bullet the way to fix the lack of funds “is over time, to raise more money for student scholarships, for undergraduate scholarships. But that is a process that can take one, two, three decades, to get to a point where everybody can go to school for free, it’s nearly impossible.” My Translation: You will support any tuition increases in the near future regardless of the effect that it may have on the students and their families. You appear to be a supporter of the so-called “Michigan Model” of high tuition with high aid – that is to say, passing the “cost” of education to the “student/consumer.” Your words appear to be a euphemistic way around the indenture of our students.


Do you know that this model generates astronomical student debt and that it disproportionally affects working class students and students of color? In this regard, Bob Meister, a Professor of UC Santa Cruz, writes that, “the price of public higher education has been growing at twice the rate of the economy, twice as fast as health insurance, and three to four times more quickly than consumer prices in general. University leaders were, of course, both observers of this bubble and participants in it” [1]. Are you going to participate on the expansion and consolidation of the student debt bubble or will you make a firm commitment to consider other options? It is simply not true that you have no option but to raise tuition. There are many proposals like UCSF Professor Stan Glantz. According to Glantz it would cost the median California tax payer between $45 and $51 to roll back UC tuition to the levels of the year 2000 [2].


Finally, you were asked about the future of diversity initiatives on campus and you responded: “clearly I have a goal of increasing enrollment, but I have to work with my senior staff, the faculty and students, because I’m sure there are many good ideas floating around that I am unaware of”. My Translation: Like Chancellor Fox and the UCSD administration, you think that racism and lack of diversity at UCSD have been resolved, so you are plan on taking a dangerously passive approach that has been the modus operandi of administrators. The problem is that there are signs of continued deterioration, because the problem is structural. The so-called “Compton Cookout” emerged from a long history of structural inequality at UCSD. Because of the brave actions of students, especially the groups previously mentioned, the administration had to face some of these problems. Yet, they addressed the issue only superficially, never getting at the roots or systemic problems. They put a band-aid on things, and then used the students’ struggles in their slick marketing campaigns to promote “campus diversity.” Contrary to that fantasy of campus, UCSD continues to be a toxic space for historically underrepresented minorities on campus, especially Muslim and Arab American students. I don’t have a quantitative study to substantiate this claim, but I have eyes, ears, and a heart. At the very least, Chancellor Koshla, you should commit the funding for the BSU resource center out of UCSD money. Do not wait for private donations. Your support for this effort would be a step in the right direction and a sign of good faith.


I realize that many members of the community may think it is too soon to raise these criticisms. Unfortunately, after seven years at this institution I have learned to expect nothing but empty words from the administration. Perhaps you can prove me wrong. Perhaps you can show me and the UCSD community that there was a deeper substance behind your words in the recent interview. Then, I would be the first to admit that I was “lost in translation.” Prove me wrong, and I’d be happy to sit down there with you and the people. We could talk, listen, and imagine new ways of opening the doors of the university to everybody in the state of California, regardless of class, race, gender, or ethnicity and honor the heritage of the California Master Plan. If this sounds too much like fiction to you, then I guess I will see you at the next protest in the Chancellor Office Complex, or at the next building reclamation, or wherever there are good people opposing the full privatization of the UC system.


Luis Martín-Cabrera


[1] Debt and Taxes: Can the Financial Industry Save Public Universities? Privatization Is Now the Problem—Not the Solution



[2] See complete proposal


State-wide Student Union Planning Conference

In California, Privatization on May 6, 2012 at 4:26 pm

Conference details here.

This is happening May 19th. One step closer to reclaiming our educations.

May Day 2012

In California, Privatization on May 1, 2012 at 12:30 am


No work. No school. No Banking. No Shopping. A day without the 99% is a day people all over the world can stand up to the powers that be and say “Enough is enough!” Join us! (If you can’t, at least take the day off or change your profile picture!)

On May 1st, 2012 every continent, every country, every state, every city will stand up!


Participating Organizations:


MAY DAY 2012: A day without the 99%.

May day is about the debt imposed on you for daring to dream about a college education.

It’s about the healthcare you can’t afford, the family member with a disease which goes untreated because they lack insurance.

It’s about your car that got repo-ed after you lost your job.

It’s about your home that got foreclosed on by the bank.

It’s about your family, who came here for a better future, and got lost in the broken immigration system, and found that they’re denied access to legal work, education and security because they’re undocumented.

It’s about you, the gay kid who gets bullied at school, and will grow up in a country which denies you equality and humanity, simply because you love someone of the same gender.

It’s about the fact there’s no jobs, even if you got that college education and those grades.

It’s about the single mother who struggles to support her kids on minimum wage – which is not a living wage.

It’s about the woman who makes it through Harvard, works her butt off in one of the best law firms in the country, and constantly loses out on that promotion because she’s not a man.

It’s about the homeless African-American man who lives on the street and gets thrown in jail for peeing in a park, because there are no toilet facilities on the street for those like him.

It’s about the protestor who gets beaten and thrown in jail for holding a sign in a public space which says he want equality.

It’s about the farmer who’s had to leave his home and work, because the state raised his land tax.

It’s about the father who loses a son to a pointless war over oil in a foreign land.

It’s about the fact this is not the America we were brought up to believe in.


This event has been organized by workers, union and non union to tell the 1% NO MORE! We will be marching from Civic Center to demonstrate in front of the banks that have taken our homes, the state building for taking our medical care, the ICE building that has deported and destroyed families and all other places that have waged a war on working people!!

More info visit: or

AB 889: Recognizing Worker’s Rights

In California on April 25, 2012 at 12:44 pm

[The following is a statement prepared for a press conference on April 17th]

I’d just like to start with the background that put this bill in perspective for me, and made me realize how important it is. According to a UCLA study on wage theft against low-wage workers in LA, found that three out of four child care workers are the targets of minimum wage violations. Child care workers were the most likely to experience minimum wage violations, but their findings for other domestic workers were abominable as well. One in three maids and housekeepers, and one in five home health care workers in the study experienced minimum wage violations. [1]

This adds up. The legislative analysis for this bill cited an estimation that there are 200,000 domestic workers in this state.[2] The UCLA study estimated that on average workers lose $39.81 out of $318.00 per week, or 12.5 percent. Assuming that violations in LA are representative of the state, an extremely conservative estimate of annual wages lost by all domestic workers in the state would be 414 million dollars per year. [1]

What is happening right now is labor rights violation on a massive scale, but the arguments against it are mainly economic: increased costs for casual employers, increased costs for violators, increased administrative costs etc. (Costs which a UC Berkeley fact sheet found to be minimal [3], or which the legislative analysis said are covered by state surcharges [2]) But even if these were valid economic arguments, they have no place in a discussion of rights. And this is where students should find common struggle.

California students are offered economic explanations for why their fees increase and their education is cut. Of course, there are very strong economic arguments for why hikes and cuts should not happen. But more importantly, as in the case of domestic workers rights, economic explanations are in some ways inappropriate to address an issue of rights: the right to a healthy work environment, the right to an education.

Claiming higher education as a right is relatively new, and it is part of our struggle for it to be recognized as such. But the right to a healthy work environment is not new, and in many ways it is much more fundamental. Denial of a right to higher education can mean debt, unemployment, and lost human potential. But denial of a right to healthy work can mean stress, depression, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, [3] and even injury resulting in permanent disability. That is why the right to a healthy work environment is already recognized and enforced for workers in other occupations. It is a tragic failure of our public discourse that this bill is as controversial as it is.

Students especially, should apply themselves to understand this bill, and to recognize the shared struggle represented in it, and to express their solidarity by explaining this bill to those who misunderstand it, and to endorse this bill as part and parcel of a struggle for human dignity and basic rights. I certainly do.


[1] Cited in legislative analysis:
Word Doc:
UCLA Study:
[2] Word Doc:

Prioritize Students, Not Politician Interests

In California, Privatization on April 18, 2012 at 8:00 am

Dear Editor,

Amazing the things you can do if you’re wealthy. If you’re a politician or university administrator, you can help run our country or university into bankruptcy while enriching yourself. You can hire friends to write garbage reports about UC ‘leftism’ because it fits your agenda.

Of course the UCs are leftist,with administration slashing the number of transfer students, raising tuition to unobtainable levels for the poor and working class, and removing affirmative action that leveled the playing field for those struggling to get into the racist UCs. The UCs and the state perpetuate the problems of rich becoming richer and well educated, leaving the masses out of opportunity and forced into shitty jobs to fuel the 1 percent!

The report that the Guardian decided to waste space with fails to even define “Leftist,” i.e. anti-capitalist. Recent polls by conservative agencies have found that our generation, especially folks of color and poor folks, are increasingly becoming critical of, if not anti-capitalist, and our politicians and university administration are doing everything in their power to fight these trends from suppressing free speech and activism through campus stay away orders, barring students unjustly from political activities, to arresting, beating and pepper-spraying them.

As Michael Parenti writes, bias “…moves in more or less consistent directions, favoring management over labor…and conservative commentators and columnists over progressive or radical ones.”

Read every statement from UC administration (and the Guardian) who claim to be on our side but carry the state’s bias that we are “out of money,” “K-12 teachers are paid too much,” “people must be patient” and “things are complex.”

When in reality, we have the money to fully fund education, but it comes at the expense of dismantling the bias that administration and the state push on student and workers. Radical and leftist are words used to isolate small groups. The vast majority of this nation and world, even Republican Californians, are what we’d call ‘radical’ politically, wanting free, not fee-d public education, universal healthcare, an end to our illegal wars and think “from each according to their ability to each according to their needs” is in the U.S. Constitution.

It’s time to fight for a university that actually prioritizes the interests of students and workers, not the red-baiting fears of politicians and administration. The poor and middle class pay a disproportionate amount of our taxes compared to the wealthy for an education that has increasingly become unaffordable.

To organize with students and workers who are fighting to reclaim our university, come to Public Education Coalition meetings Mondays at 7 p.m. at the SRC in Price West.

—Nikolai Smith

Ph.D., Department of Sociology

[originally published in the 4/17/12 issue of The Guardian]

Hard Copies Available: Report On Privatization of the UC

In California, Privatization, Reclaim CLICS on April 17, 2012 at 11:59 pm

Our educational outreach team was very fortunate to receive a grant from The Green Initiative Fund on campus to publish 1750 copies of the Report On The Privatization Of The UC. Copies will be available in the community centers (Cross Cultural Center, LGBT Resource Center, Women’s Center, Sustainability Resource Center) and various other locations across campus. If you can’t find the printed edition on campus, or don’t go to UCSD, please leave a comment with your email, or email us at

For this printed edition a new cover was lifted from a poster made by one of our supporters, some sections were revised, missing citations were added, all new charts were added, and typographical errors were corrected by a helpful copy-edit volunteer.

The booklets were printed by Inkworks, a workers collective in Berkeley, on recycled chlorine-free paper using soy based inks.

The digital version was updated as well.

Digital Version

Print Version

CLICS Destruction

In California, Privatization, Reclaim CLICS on March 30, 2012 at 8:00 am

CLICS is officially closed and shut down.

There is a giant chain-link fence bolted in to the front door, and the side doors are securely locked.

Much of the ceiling has been torn apart, some of the wiring has been pulled down, the study carrolls are gone, and they have even scratched away some (but not all – just the ‘politically charged stuff’) of the art.




Preliminary photos can be found here:




If you want to get involved in fighting back against these oppressive measures, please fill out the whenisgood link here:
 Get ready for a campus-changing quarter, everyone.

On the November 9 Stay-Away Orders: The University and its “Lawful Business”

In California, Privatization on March 23, 2012 at 7:32 am

“On issuing these stay away orders, the judge granted a narrow exception to all of us who are students, as well as a few other exceptions to particular individuals (i.e. for living in university housing, or for performing official union responsibilities). Those of us with classes and teaching duties (which includes 12 of the 13 being charged) are allowed to visit campus for “lawful business.” We can attend our courses and meet with our students as usual. While a reasonable exception to an unreasonable order, this further reveals how the stay-away orders have been constructed expressly to eliminate our political engagement on campus. The stay-away-order-plus-exception effectively distills our lives as students and workers from all other trivial or superficial aspects. We are reduced to mere academics, without political or social lives, whose sole purpose is to work and study and return home. We cannot attend a lecture on campus. Or meet with a friend for coffee. Or stop to talk with a former student. And we most certainly can’t attend any protest. The court is permitting us to contribute to business as usual at the university so long as we do not do anything outside of the strict delimitation of such business, as long we do not attempt to challenge it in any way. We are made into model students and workers, perfectly obedient, without the encumbrance of feelings and thoughts beyond our academic work on campus”.

For the full story, visit the link below.


On the November 9 Stay-Away Orders: The University and its “Lawful Business”.

Seventh Demand: Islamic Studies Minor

In California on March 19, 2012 at 8:00 am

This is the text of the seventh demand that has been added to the list of demands put forward by the Public Education Coalition and referred to in our response to Chancellor Fox’s email.



MARCH 8, 2012

To Whom It May Concern:

A seventh demand has been added to the list of institutional demands submitted on March 1, 2012 by a coalition of students, faculty, and workers specified in the March 1 document. As always please respond to our liaison (in the original document) before the end of the quarter.


A coalition of students, workers, and faculty at UCSD



After the events of September 11, 2001, Muslims in the nation, especially students on academic campuses, have encountered a litany of Islamophobic activities demonstrated by a wide array of hate crimes ranging from verbal attacks to physical sabotage. Islamophobic actions that Muslim students have encountered on UC San Diego campus include, but are not limited to, professors’ bias towards Muslims, written and spoken anti-Muslim rhetoric by campus personnel, UC San Diego students, as well as campus visitors, sabotaged advertising materials for Islam Awareness Week in addition to several other incidents. In 2010, intoxicated students at UC San Diego Sun God Festival assaulted a female Muslim student; pulling off her headscarf while shouting anti-Muslim pejoratives and racial slurs. Moreover, on Thursday April 4, 2011 twenty-eight UC San Diego faculty endorsed “An Open Letter to Our University Community About Troubling Hypocrisy On Our Campus” in an advertisement paid by off-campus Israel advocate organization Scholars for Peace in the Middle East in The Guardian campus newspaper. The letter falsely accused the Muslim Student Association, Arab Student Union, and Students for Justice in Palestine of anti-Jewish activities. In addition, UC San Diego Administration denied security escort to a Muslim student to University Public Relations Office despite unsafe conditions on campus due to Sun God Festival and prevalent anti-Muslim bias. Read the rest of this entry »

Our Response to Chancellor Fox’s “Response”

In California, Privatization, Reclaim Chancellor's Complex, Reclaim CLICS on March 18, 2012 at 5:18 pm

On Wednesday, March 14, after two weeks of successfully reclaiming the Chancellor’s Complex Conference Room, students vacated the complex and moved to CLICS Library which had begun its 24 hour service for finals week. Though administration still plans to move forward with renovation of CLICS, we will continue pressing for a halt on construction until more student input can be submitted and heard. The following response letter was submitted to Chancellor Fox and several Vice Chancellors after the move to CLICS.

March 14, 2012

To the Chancellor and Vice Chancellors of the University of California, San Diego:

Chancellor Fox’s response to the demands made by a coalition of students, faculty, and workers drawn from organizations including the Public Education Coalition, the Student Affirmative Action Committee, and the student-run Co-operatives, makes no substantive commitments to accountability, transparency, or shared-governance. Our intention behind the demonstration on March 1 was to start a radical democratic process among students, workers, and educators, reassess our collective priorities as an educational institution, and come up with a comprehensive plan of action that will increase the quality of our education given the current crisis.

We are completely aware of the budgetary issues facing the state of California and its consistent slashing of necessary social programs such as education. Instead of responding to our campus-specific demands, however, you have chosen to remind us of problems in the state-budget of which we are already aware and against which we have been mobilizing for years. You have chosen to scapegoat “the magnitude of the cutbacks” and “the state’s contribution to educating each UC student” in order to explain your own non-transparent management of the university’s slashed budget. Further, in solely blaming the state, you have chosen to omit the Regents’ conflicts of interest as millionaire hedge-fund managers and real-estate executives, not to mention their potential conflicts of interest from personal investments in for-profit schools and companies closely associated with the university. Read the rest of this entry »