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Posts Tagged ‘civil disobedience’

“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, (http://www.ucsdguardian.org/component/k2/item/25732-interview-with-chancellor-designate-khosla) 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 http://keepcaliforniaspromise.org/2066/restore2011-12

 

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Recap of May Day 2012

In Uncategorized on May 1, 2012 at 11:50 pm

Global protests occurred on this International Workers Day.

Here’s a Storify from the Nation with some details about protests in the USA:
http://www.thenation.com/blog/167638/live-may-day-storify?rel=emailNation

and another article detailing some of the global actions:

http://www.ajc.com/news/nation-world/workers-express-anger-gloom-1428917.html

Lastly, this is a great LA Times photo collection with photos from Seattle, LA, New York and other places:

http://framework.latimes.com/2012/05/01/may-day/.

Share your May Day stories if you were able to participate in the comments section!

May Day 2012

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

FROM THE OCCUPY SAN DIEGO FACEBOOK EVENT FOR MAY DAY 2012:

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!

11am CITY COLLEGE RALLY
12pm SOLIDARITY MARCH – CIVIC CENTER
3:30pm EDUCATION CUTS RALLY – ROOSEVELT MIDDLE SCHOOL
4pm-6pm WORKER RALLY – CIVIC CENTER
5:30pm CHICANO PARK FESTIVAL

Participating Organizations:

SEIU USWW | UFCW LOCAL 135| UNITEHERE LOCAL 30 | UNION DEL BARRIO | SD LABOR COUNCIL | UNITED TAXI WORKERS | AFT | OCCUPY LABOR SOLIDARITY | ACCE | ICWJ | ANAKBAYAN SD | CENTER OF POLICY INITIATIVES | DOMESTIC WORKER CAMPAIGN | CANVASS FOR A CAUSE | AFSC SD | EMPLOYEE RIGHTS CENTER | LA INVASORA 99.7FM | EQUALITY ALLIANCE SD | UPTE-CWA 9119 | S.A.M.E. | OSD | PARTY FOR SOCIALISM & LIBERATION | ANIMAL PROTECTION & RESCUE LEAGUE | INTERNATIONAL SOCIALIST ORGANIZATION | IWW | OCUPEMOS EL BARRIO | AMALGAMATED TRANSIT UNION LOCAL 1309 | OCCUPYRCORNER | STUDENTS FROM SDSU, USD, CITY COLLEGE, UCSD & MORE!

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.

IT’S TIME TO TAKE TO THE STREETS!

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: www.occupylaborsolidarity.org or http://www.occupymay1st.org/Seemore

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”.

UC President’s Apparent Bias On Free Speech and Dissent

In California on March 13, 2012 at 5:47 pm

A group of 150 scholars at twenty California institutions of higher learning have written a brief response to a letter by Yudof intended to address UC climate and promote tolerance.

California Scholars for Academic Freedom Protest UC President’s Apparent Bias Regarding the Right of Free Speech and Dissent on UC Campuses

 

Also, UC Davis professor Bob Ostertag wrote an op-ed piece on how Mark Yudof and the Regents have continued to mishandle dissent and free speech on campuses across the University of California. Click the link below to read the piece.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bob-ostertag/university-of-california-_b_1340647.html?ref=tw

March 1st: Retrospect Gallery

In California, Privatization on March 4, 2012 at 1:35 pm

On March 1st, UCSD student’s held a demonstration against budget cuts, fee hikes, worker’s marginalization and the inequity of the K-12 system. To contribute photos or learn more about continued participation in fighting for educational and social justice email: marchformarch2012@gmail.com

Photo: Cat Martini

Photos: Sharon Bach

International Call to Action and Announcement of Virtual Sit-In

In Uncategorized on February 28, 2012 at 11:59 pm

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Citizens of the World:

We the people of Public Education Coalition of UC San Diego seek to globally unite, from Chile to Puerto Rico, from Greece to Spain, from Egypt to Iran, from Occupy Wall Street to Occupied Palestine, from UC Riverside to UC Davis to UC Berkeley, with those who share our commitment to the empowerment of workers, students, and the unemployed through the creation of an equitable and compassionate society. Through collective struggle we will reverse the privatization of our universities and reclaim public education as a human right for all people.

Together, university and state officials all over the world have used the tactics of neoliberalization and privatization to systematically dismantle access to public education by underrepresented, underserved and otherwise invisible communities.

March 1st is one day of action in a growing movement, but there are any number of ways to support it.

When you walk out, teach out, march out, or speak out on March 1st you are demonstrating your commitment to the importance of public education in an egalitarian society. You are demanding your role in shared governance of a public institution, and you are defending future generations who will inherit the political, economic, social and educational systems we create for ourselves today.

This is also a call to VIRTUAL ACTION.

As inheritors of the legacies set forth by millions of student protesters across the globe and across generations, we cordially invite the citizens of the world to become actors in a performance of Electronic Civil Disobedience through a virtual sit-in on bankofamerica.com, universityofcalifornia.edu, and jerrybrown.org.

By taking part in this gesture of Electronic Civil Disobedience, you will align yourself in the traditions of non-violent direct action and civil disobedience established by peaceful dissenters throughout world history. Proponents of Electronic Civil Disobedience are borrowing tactics of trespass and blockade from earlier social movements and applying them to the virtual sphere. Electronic Civil Disobedience, as a form of mass de-centralized electronic direct action, utilizes virtual blockades and virtual sit-ins. Unlike the participants in a traditional civil disobedience action, an ECD actor can participate in virtual blockades and sit-ins from home, from work, from the university, or from other points of access to the Net. The virtual sit-in will begin on March 1st at 12:00 AM and end on March 5th at 11:59 PM. To participate, follow reclaimucsd.wordpress.com or send an email to march1stvirtualsitin@gmail.com. Details will be posted to the blog and sent out via email tomorrow evening about how to participate. In the meantime: take the flyer attached below and print it, email it and spread it far and wide in the virtual sphere.

If not us, who?

If not now, when?

See you on the streets and the virtual networks of the world.

Sean Estelle, Sophia Lawson, Stephanie Nowinski, Shelby Cohantz

Public Education Coalition (marchformarch2012@gmail.com, reclaimucsd.wordpress.com)

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