The following letter was a part of the run-up to the March 4, 2010 Public Education Protest.
March 2, 2010
Dear UC Davis Faculty, Staff, and Students,
At the discussion held last week at UC Davis to address issues of solidarity between faculty and students, there was overwhelming agreement that a single, faculty/student/staff webpage should be created to share information about the upcoming strike on March 4th, protests, actions, and meetings held at UC Davis.
We have created this website (http://www.freeucdavis.org), where campus events and meetings can be broadcast. In addition, the site allows professors, lecturers and TAs who would welcome a brief presentation in their classes, to post their names, contacts and class schedules, so students active in the movement can come in and give presentations. Look for the “contact us” tab at the top of the page. We’ve attempted to create an interactive site where faculty can both get information and communicate directly with their students.
The crisis facing the UC system is by now familiar. Governor Schwarzenegger and the State Legislature have slashed funding, and the UC Regents, Office of the President, and campus administrations have responded with measures that undermine the core teaching, research, and service mission of the university:
- student fees have been raised dramatically
- hiring has been frozen
- faculty and staff have been furloughed
- lecturers’ hours have been reduced and some have been laid off
- entire departments (ESL, UWP, geography, textiles, and more) are under threat of closure
- many staff positions have been consolidated or eliminated
- market standards now supersede the values of intellectual creativity and excellence
- critical programs that ensure the continuation of campus diversity have been slashed
Next year’s planned cuts will only accelerate these trends. The defunding of public higher education makes a college education inaccessible to many Californians, especially those already most disadvantaged; it endangers the vibrancy and livelihood of the state; it lowers the quality of life of all of its inhabitants.
We are calling on UC faculty to suspend “business as usual” and participate in the various actions that day in support of public education. In the belief that we need to target different audiences and that pressure is most effective when applied at various points in the system, we support the multiple actions that are planned for March 4th:
- Groups at UC Davis are calling for students, staff, and faculty to strike and walk out of classes on March 4th. The Davis Faculty Association has called for faculty to support students walking out of class on March 4th. Students are calling for professors to walk out in solidarity with them.
- “Connect the Elements :: A public education happening” will take place at the MU from 11:30am to 3:00pm. (A march from the ARC to the MU will begin at 11:00am.) Professors and TAs are encouraged to bring their classes to this event, which will be a collection of interactive educational spaces about the budget cuts and fee increases, followed by a solidarity march at 3:00pm.
- Various groups around the state have called for a march on Sacramento. Students, staff, and faculty from the ten UC campuses, the Cal State University system, the Community Colleges, and K-12 schools plan to participate. “Educate the State” will take place on the north steps of the Capitol from 11:00am-1:00pm. Attendees are invited to return to the UCD campus to take part in the local events after the Sacramento event ends at 1:00.
Lastly, as March 4th approaches, and you are wondering what you can do to support the day of protest around education in California, we urge you to consider one of these options:
- We urge you to join our strike. Students and teachers across California and the U.S. will be joining the strike, in the UCs, CSUs, CCs, other universities and colleges, and K-12.
- Hold your class outside, take it to the quad, or any space outside of the classroom, March 4th should not be a day of business as usual!
- Dedicate class time to a discussion about the privatization of the university, and its effect on current and future students, workers, faculty, and already disadvantaged communities.
- Accommodate your students to make it possible for them to honor the strike; post class presentations online, do not penalize students for not being present in class that day, and you can find your own innovative way to support your students in their struggle for a better university for us all.
- Encourage your students to participate at any point of the day at the events that will be taking place across campus. And we invite you to join us at the quad from 11:30 to 3:00.
- Keep yourself, you students, and your colleagues updated by visiting http://www.freeucdavis.org from March 4th onward.
- Reach out to students, faculty and staff. We are here all to organize each other and keep each other motivated and informed.
Members of the UC Davis community will participate in the March 4th strike and day of action to decry the defunding of public education in California and the privatization of the UC, and to express our solidarity with students, parents, teachers, and other workers on our campus, in our communities, and around the state. We strongly encourage you to join us.
The UC Davis Organizing Committee
For more information to share with your colleagues and students:
http://www.freeucdavis.org http://www.ucstrike.com http://thirdworldjournal.co.cc http://www.defendcapubliceducation.wordpress.com http://www.againstcuts.org http://www.teachthebudget.org http://www.affordableuc.org