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Got the Monday blues? Start your week off right with a helping of useful information and informed opinion. 

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For the week of March 01, 2010

Planning for what will likely be an historic “day of action for education” on March 4 proceeds, with actions planned at all UC campuses and busloads of protestors set to descend on Sacramento.

Meanwhile, last week saw a wave of demonstrations and other solidarity actions against racism and intolerance at several campuses. At UCSD, a February 15 fraternity party that promoted racist stereotypes and mocked Black History Month was defended as “satire” by organizers on a campus TV program a few days later, prompting students to confront UCSD administrators with demands for action.

UCSD’s Black Student Union, sharply critical of a campus-sponsored teach-in on
February 24, led a walk-out and conducted a counter teach-in. Grad student Dolissa Medina made this short video about the walkout. The next day, a noose was found hanging in the campus library, igniting an occupation of the chancellor’s office, and a sister sit-in by 100 UCLA students at the chancellor’s office on their own campus to demand action.

At UC Davis, a swastika was carved into a student’s dorm room door on February 26, and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Resource Center decried vandalism of
their office on the same day.

UCSD faculty have issued a condemnation and petition over racism and the climate at the campus, and students, faculty and staff are discussing further action next week. UCSD has suspended the student who admitted placing the noose. UC president Mark Yudof was joined by 10 UC chancellors in a statement condemning the incidents, while UCSD launched a “Battle Hate” website.

Fourteen students and three workers at UC Irvine were arrested in a Feb. 24 sit-in at the administration building over a breakdown in negotiations with AFSCME. AFSCME has been seeking to “insource” janitorial and maintenance jobs, but UCI is demanding citizenship checks on the workers.

In Berkeley, protestors who had been occupying Durant Hall on February 25 later clashed with police on nearby Telegraph Avenue.

Service workers at UC, represented by AFSCME, picketed a February 24 Bay Area appearance of university regent Richard Blum and former president Bill Clinton. Fearing Clinton would not have crossed the picket line to deliver his speech, the San Francisco Bay Guardian reports that UC agreed to the union’s demand to abandon a plan to contract out bus service at Berkeley. But according to AFSCME’s Liz Perlman, the LBNL drivers are still contracted out.

Some 2,400 University of Montreal teaching assistants have gone on strike, saying their fight is for better working and teaching conditions.

In response to a union lawsuit, an Alameda County judge has ordered back pay for some state workers furloughed by Governor Arnold Schwartzenegger who worked for certain state agencies. The governor’s office says it will appeal.

Amid financial crisis, reports California Watch, UC Berkeley is forging ahead with spending $320 million on a new football stadium, even while the athletic department itself is mired in debt.

How much would it cost to restore public higher education? The Council of UC Faculty Associations has issued a new report with the answer: the bill would be $32 for each California taxpayer. With that, the entire system would be restored and student fees could be rolled back to what they were a decade ago. Higher education can be fixed, argues CUCFA vice chair Stan Glantz, a professor of medicine at UCSF, in the Daily Californian.

Why won’t the California legislature do what’s right and raise that $32 per taxpayer? Because a minority has a stranglehold on the budgeting process, and every budget vote requires a two-thirds majority to pass. UCB Linguistics Professor George Lakoff has authored a ballot initiative that would change that, the California Democracy Act, creating majority rule in California. You can read Lakoff’s letter to students or sign a petition in support of the initiative.
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