Thursday, November 24, 2011

UC General Strike

Board of Regents Declared Illegitimate by General Assembly

On Monday, November 21, 99.5% of the 1,729 participants attending the Occupy UC Davis General Assembly--the basic organizing unit of the Occupy Movement--voted for a nonviolent campus-wide general strike, to take place on Monday, November 28. The strike is to coincide with a statewide meeting of the Regents, which the Assembly maintained “has repeatedly shown itself unfit to represent the interests of the students, faculty, and workers who constitute the University of California.”

Undergraduate student fees have tripled over the past ten years, resulting in an unprecedented explosion in student debt. At the same time, departmental budgets have shrunk, which has led to diminishing benefits, swelling workloads, and non-existent job security for academic and non-academic workers alike. Following two successive years of sharp tuition increases, accompanied by millions in department and resource cuts, layoffs, and furloughs, the board has now proposed a new 81% fee increase and drastic budget reductions.

The General Assembly held that the Regents’ use of public resources to fund construction projects, private research initiatives, and other “capital ventures,” demonstrates a clear conflict of interests at the expense of the faculty, staff, and the student body. The Assembly stated that the Regents have intensified their pursuit of the project of privatization for financial gain, while de-funding and diminishing the quality of education for those across the UC system and consigning students’ futures to increasing amounts of debt.

The Assembly also stated that the continued destruction of higher education in California, and the repressive forms of police violence that sustain it, cannot be viewed apart from larger economic and political systems that concentrate wealth and political power in the hands of the few. Since the university has long served as one of the few means of social mobility and for the proliferation of knowledge critical to and outside of existing structures of power, the vital role it plays as one of the few truly public resources is beyond question.

Moreover, they asserted that the necessity of reclaiming the UC has never demanded such urgency. It continues to shift towards the corporate model, pursuing partnerships for the sole purpose of profit (such as those with the defense department and international agribusiness), and engages in partnerships with major financial institutions which have greatly profited from student debt.

The strike will entail total campus participation in shutting down the operations of UC Davis, including teaching, working, learning, and transportation. In doing so, the students, faculty and workers involved in Occupy UC Davis aim to peacefully assert the power—and the will—to effectively represent and manage themselves.

Occupy UC Davis is devoted to nonviolently fighting UC tuition hikes and promoting democratization of governing institutions.
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