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For the week of January 18, 2010

While most of us were out on furloughs, media began reporting that California’s governor is backing off on cuts to education in the next budget round. The governor’s chief of staff told the New York Times in early January that last year’s UC protests were a "tipping point."

But the fight is far from over. UC emeritus faculty member Charles Schwartz makes some suggestions about future strategy. Others are working on a measure that would change the state’s constitution to bring budget democracy to Sacramento.

A parent and alum writes her observations on UC’s spiral to the bottom in an opinion piece published in the Los Angeles Times. In response problems at state universities, some legislators are talking about allowing community colleges to give 4-year degrees.

Reverberations are still being felt from last semester’s week-long protest at Berkeley’s Wheeler Hall, after UC police stormed the building in a pre-dawn raid December 10 and arrested 66 protestors who had been peacefully occupying the building, all the while thinking they had an agreement with the UC administration to stay. The campus Student Advocate’s Office has release a report sharply critical of the administration. 

Later that evening, a protest at the Berkeley chancellor’s house resulted in property damage and much press coverage, but the district attorney found insufficient evidence to charge those arrested. Student conduct charges are still pending, a process described as a “secret tribunal” by UCB law school lecturer Steve Rosenbaum, while speaking to a group of 60 supporters after the hearing. Rosenbaum highlighted the threats to UC students’ free speech rights, and said he “couldn’t believe that the greatest public university in the world…conducts procedures this way.”

One faculty observer has written about the context of the protest and his concerns about “administrative violence,” in the first issue of a new journal about the UC struggle, Reclamations. Other thoughtful essays in the issue cover Berkeley’s Wheeler Hall sit-in, the occupations of Mrak Hall at UC Davis, and the demonstrations at UCLA regents’ meeting.

Two banners about the fight to save public education were dropped from the roof of UC Davis’ Shields Library on January 14. Some library workers are pushing to retrieve the banners from the UCD police for addition as historical artifacts in the library's Special Collections.

The first UC protest of the new year occurred at UC Irvine on January 4.

UC Berkeley’s Art Practice and Anthropology Departments, which are housed in the same building, are planning a series of events to “makeover” Kroeber Hall during the first week of classes.

California’s former Speaker of the Assembly, Karen Bass, is confirmed for a 2 pm coalition rally at UCLA on Saturday, January 23 at Bruin Plaza. Bass will also attend a Q&A session at 1 pm in Moore Hall 100.

Mark your calendars for some hard-hitting satire from the UC Movement for Efficient Privatization on January 29. They’ll be recognizing UC Berkeley spin guy Dan Mogulof for, among other things, showing that “evidence is merely a formality -- a pesky obstacle that only gets in the way of powerful people getting what they want.” Stay tuned to the group’s humorous take on UC via Facebook.

The California campaign to make March 4 a day of action to defend public education is going national, as layoffs, fee hikes, cuts, and the re-segregation of public education are taking place throughout the country.
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