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For the week of September 14, 2009

Next week is bound to be interesting, now that faculty, staff, and student groups systemwide have called for strikes and walkouts on September 24. That day is the first day of class on most campuses.

The faculty walkout call has been signed by hundreds and is still growing. Researchers and techs represented by UPTE-CWA will be striking at all campuses on September 24.  Graduate student instructors have said they’ll support the walkout in defense of public education. The University of California Students Association, the governing body representing all 225,000 students in the UC system, unanimously passed a resolution in support of the walkout. Other union members have pledge to take a furlough day on September 24 or walk the picket line in support.

The American Association of University Professors, a nationwide group, has endorsed the walkout.  A UC Riverside English professor wrote this call to solidarity for all workers at the university. Faculty are writing to incoming students to let them know what is happening at UC, such as this letter from a UCB professor

Student/staff/faculty alliances have set up websites at UCB, UCLA and UCSB.  UC Davis’ campus newspaper, The Aggie, published a piece last week about the walkout.

UC threw fuel on the fire late last week by announcing students would face massive fee hikes.

Other similar protests are occurring across the nation. Students and employees in the California State University system have also been protesting declines in educational services. Faculty at a public college in Michigan shut down the school on the first day of classes last week.

Employees across the UC system turned out in record numbers to overwhelmingly reject the leadership of UC president Mark Yudof in a vote of “no confidence,” held from August 26 to September 2. Ninety-six percent of voters selected “no confidence” on their ballots. Even though the poll took place during the summer break when most faculty and students were away, some 10,000 voters, including faculty, custodians, nurses, techs, researchers, professionals, and clericals formed long lines at polling places for the unprecedented vote.

Meanwhile, the state legislature voted overwhelmingly last week to prohibit executive pay increases at UC and CSU during bad budget years. A previous version of the bill had been killed by UC lobbyists, who claimed it would not allow them to “recruit top talent.”

“The UC and CSU seem committed to going down the same egregious path as AIG and other Wall Street corporations by providing for their top executives and ignoring everyone else,” the bill’s author, Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) told the California Chronicle. Lee is also an alumnus of both UC and CSU. The bill is now awaiting the governor’s signature.

ANNOUNCEMENT FOR BAY AREA READERS: Today, September 14 from 4 to 5:30 pm, UC Berkeley faculty will present “The University in Crisis: The Dismantling and Destruction of the University of California” in 160 Kroeber Hall. More information is here.


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