November 16 Letter – thank you to everyone participating
I hope you can appreciate this when I say this: I thank you sincerely.
Education means a lot to me. I know the power it wields and I know how access to higher education is getting harder and harder to achieve. I know that it’s difficult to get engaged when you feel powerless to change the system, but I know together we are powerful because time and again the masses of people have done the impossible.
I believe in a university of equality and equity. I believe in a university where the voice of workers is respected, where anyone who works hard can get a quality education, where you can get a job teaching, where you can go to school here or you can come to work here and the community here takes care of you.
I feel that the people that run this university are disconnected with this idea. I’m tired of fighting for scraps while corporations that the regents support get bailouts. I don’t understand why the next generation must continue to face adversity when we have the tools right now to forge the future we want. We have the money, the problem is that we aren’t spending it on what matters: investing in ourselves and our futures.
We can create something beautiful here. We may not agree on everything, but our differences form the exquisite colors we can paint the future with. I’m grateful for being given this education and this opportunity, that’s why I’ll fight to expand opportunities for as many other people as I can.
Every person here matters; every voice matters. We are intelligent, we are collected, and we can create the university we want. Wednesday we fight the tuition increases, but our struggle extends beyond it. Our fight is the fight for accessible education for everyone and for a democratic university. Our fight is both for ourselves and for future students.
again, I thank you.
with much love,
November 11 Letter – NOTICE
(Please excuse the length, this is very important!)
On November 17-19th, the UC Regents will be voting on raising your tuition by $2,500 per year, a 32% fee increase. Undergrads will be paying in excess of $10,000 per year to attend the UC. This has been an ongoing trend for the past 40 years, and will most likely continue to increase. On top of tuition increases, we’re seeing class & section sizes grow, decreases in TA’s, reduced library hours, reduced funding for outreach and retention programs, reduced access to financial aid and a lot more cuts. Staff at the university are being cut through layoffs, furloughs, and large pay cuts. We are witnessing the end of public education, the creation of a public-private hybrid university.
Despite the fact that this problem is a part of a larger fucked up system, what the administrators of the UC are doing is unacceptable. The UC office of the president (UCOP) and the regents have been relying on student fees as collateral for issuing bonds in order to expand construction rather than spending it on education. They spend the money on purchasing more expensive executives and give themselves large bonuses and perks. The list goes on…
However, the fundamental problem here lies in the structure of the university. We as students are directly affected by the university’s decisions, yet we have virtually no voice or power; workers and teachers allow the university to function, but they too have little control. The students, the teachers, and the workers together comprise the foundation of the university, so why are we told to shut up after a few minutes of public comment at Regent’s Meetings? We have our hearts, our souls, and our futures invested in the UC, so why are people that are looking at the UC system as a business, a networking tool, and a prestigious footnote to attach to their surnames running OUR UNIVERSITY without us?
We aren’t asking you to participate in a campus shutdown because we’re spiteful, or because we feel that the university shouldn’t function at all. We are asking you to show the rulers of this university what the consequences of their actions will be. A university without programs to outreach to low-income families and people of color and university without a WORKING financial aid system will be a university without diversity. A university that continues to exploit its workers, continues to undercut students, continues to layoff invaluable teachers will no longer be a place of higher education. We are going to show the UC administrators that a public university without democracy, without transparency, without justice, will be a university without students.
No Cuts! No Fee Hikes! No Furloughs! No Layoffs!