5 12 2011

From UC to UPR: Defend Your Right to a Public University Education

2 03 2011


END: Tuition Hikes and the Criminalization of Student Protesters, and

DEFEND: Accessible Public Postsecondary Education for All

  • 12:00 pm: Meet in front of the Silent Tree (Geisel)
  • 12:15 pm: March to campus center.
  • 12:30-1:30 pm: Teach-out in front of the Triton Steps

Public governments are continuing to cut funds from our public universities while, while drastically increasing student tuition. This year, the CA government is cutting $500 million from the UC budget, opening the door for more fee increases in the near future. At the other end of the US empire, in the island-colony of Puerto Rico, students have been striking for nearly three months to protest the PR government’s cutting of 200 million dollars from the university’s budget, and an imposition of a 50% tuition increase.

On March 11, we will stand together in solidarity – join us and 30+ cities/campuses around the world to denounce the attempted dismantling of our public universities. From UC to UPR, let’s show our politicians and university administrators that the students, united across borders and state lines, will not allow them to take away each person’s right to an affordable, quality education.

For More Information Email: <uprucsd@gmail.com>, or consult the following HuffPost articles about the UPR strike HERE, HERE, and HERE.

March 2 National Day of Action to Save Public Education

2 03 2011


  • Defeat Governor Brown’s Proposed Budget Cuts of $1.4 Billion to the UC, CSU, and Community College Systems!
  • Defend California’s Promise of Public Higher Education for All Students!
  • No Privatization of Public Education or the Public Sector!
  • Tax the Corporations, Banks, and Billionaires!
  • Pass the California DREAM Act Now!
  • Stop the Resegregation of Higher Education! Restore Affirmative Action!
  • Build the New Independent Integrated Mass Student and Youth- Led Movement to Defend Public Education!
  • Unite the Movement to Defend Public Education with the Latina/o, Black, Immigrant Communities and the Oppressed to Gain the Power to Win!
  • Defend Dr. Martin Luther King’s Vision for America, Starting in California!
  • Latina/o, Black, Asian, and White, Immigrants — Documented and Undocumented — We Are All Californians!

Governor Jerry Brown’s 2011 budget proposal targets California’s system of public higher education for massive cuts of 1.4 billion dollars. The historic civil rights gains that have been won in California — gains that have provided educational opportunities to millions over the last 50 years and have made California’s higher education system a model for the world — are now endangered.

The University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU) systems, still reeling from last year’s budget cuts, are each slated for an additional $500 million of cuts. UCLA is preparing a $96 million cut from its budget for next year in anticipation of Brown’s budget being passed. California’s Community College system is facing $400 million in cuts, which would mean at least 350,000 more students losing their seats. These cuts would leave hundreds of thousands of students – especially black, Latina/o, other minority and working-class students – with nowhere to go after high school and would accelerate the process of thousands of currently enrolled university and college students being pushed out simply because they can no longer afford to go to school. Latina/o student enrollment at UC Berkeley has dropped 12% in response to last year’s fee increases.

California has the means to support public education. California is the richest state in the nation, the 8th largest economy in the world, and is currently providing record profits to the corporations and huge bonuses and paychecks to the same bankers and executives that created the economic crisis. The only reason we are facing these cuts is because the rich and powerful forces behind Brown are tired of paying for public education and view the prolonged economic crisis as an opportunity to significantly cheapen the cost of education. Brown’s regressive and completely inadequate tax plan to fund public education coupled with the fee hikes is just a way to shift the responsibility for paying for public education from the rich onto the backs of California’s poor, working class and middle class communities. Most of us are struggling just to stay afloat. If the overwhelming majority of people in California who support public education as a right and not just a privilege available to an increasingly more elite and rich section of the population just stand up we can stop the cuts. The money is there. The only question is do we have it in our state coffers controlled by the people or does it stay in the private bank accounts of the billionaires, who dole some of it out every now and then, to be spent on whatever educational scheme or pet charity project they fancy at that moment.

Our movement demands that the money come from taxing the corporations, banks, and billionaires. We demand a real federal bailout for public higher education nationwide. Those with power and money view the economic crisis as an opportunity not only to lower the living standards of the majority of people but also to lower expectations and aspirations of the vast majority of youth. Both the Democrats and the Republicans in Sacramento and in Washington, D.C. fully support this plan of action and are hell-bent on implementing it at both the state and national levels. In addition to the $1.4 billion cut to public higher education, Governor Brown is also proposing a $1.7 billion cut to Medi-Cal healthcare services for the poor and $1.5 billion cut to California’s social welfare and job-training program CalWORKs. This so-called “balanced” budget proposal will have an absolutely devastating effect on the quality of life for California’s poor, working-class and middle class communities and their ability to meet even the most basic human needs. This is a completely unviable future for our state. We cannot continue the ludicrous and suicidal practice of doing next to nothing to oppose these budget cuts just because they are being proposed by the Democrats.

On Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011, as part of a national day of action to defend public education, the Oakland School Board in conjunction with the Oakland Education Association is calling another “disaster drill” in the Oakland school district. A year ago when the first day of national action occurred, the Oakland schools played an important and positive roll – joining with the student movement that started on the UC campuses against the fee hikes and budget cuts to unite the fight for K-12 education with the fight against cuts in public education at all levels — K-12 through University. In Oakland, a year ago, we organized disaster drills in nearly every school that brought students and teachers out to protest the budget cuts. Students from UC Berkeley united with students and teachers from Oakland schools in a united action of thousands in downtown Oakland. Our action in Oakland last spring was the largest mass mobilization in the country. Our movement succeeded in getting then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and the State Legislature to restore $300 million of cuts to the UC’s.

This year’s disaster drills called for Wednesday March 2nd are modeled on what we did a year ago. However this year we will need far more than it took a year ago to score even a modest victory. We need a series of sustained mass actions that are more determined, angrier and much larger than a year ago to defeat the bi-partisan national and state policy of dismantling and privatizing public education. Gov. Brown expects some mass resistance to his budget cuts. However, he is counting on the marches and demonstrations occurring all over California on March 2nd to be lame and meek. If March 2nd is no more than a one off, large but tame day of moral protest actions, which apart from BAMN, is what the forces organizing March 2nd events intend, then Gov. Brown wins and the people of California lose. BAMN is determined to prevent this from happening. It is not that difficult to win, if we can get some serious and dedicated young leaders to step forward and join us in fighting the cuts.

In Oakland, students must take the lead and organize the March 2nd, 2011 disaster drills themselves. We need March 2nd to be much bolder than a fifteen minute rally in front of the schools, which is the current plan. .The attacks we are facing will determine the character of our lives. March 2nd must be more than a moral outlet for students, teachers and community members to let off some steam and prepare for defeat. We have a model of how to win. The huge immigrant rights marches of 2006, inspired by high school and middle school walk-outs, defeated a Republican attack on the basic human and civil rights of California’s Latina/o and immigrant communities, especially undocumented Californians. What we are facing now is an attack supported by both Republicans and Democrats. Defeating this attack will require no less than the sustained and massive actions of 2006, in which our mass actions continued to grow in both scope and militancy until we won. We need to bring the spirit and determination of the youth of Cairo to California! Our aim must be to shutdown California.

Jerry Brown says he wants his budget passed by the end of March. We have between now and then to convince the state legislature to reject Brown’s budget proposal and act on the broadly popular mandate to maintain public education as a fully funded right. March 2nd and the days leading up to and following it must be spent organizing those who are most determined to win to lead and to fight. Our movement must make the fight against racism, the fight for full rights for all immigrants documented and undocumented, and bringing an end to the scapegoating of immigrant communities central demands of our struggle. Demanding passage of the Dream Act, the restoration of affirmative action programs so that Latina/o, black and other minority students are no longer denied a seat within the UC system and the creation of integrated metropolitan-wide magnet and other high quality k-12 schools must be central demands of our struggle. This is the only way for us to assure that our fight to defend public education as a right extends to every Californian, including those who are undocumented. Latina/o youth and students are the strongest, most experienced, most optimistic and most determined force in California, we need these students to step up and lead. Our new movement will have to be a new mass youth-led integrated and independent civil rights and immigrant rights movement to win.

More than any state in the nation California is poised to realize Dr. King’s vision for America. The rich and the powerful do not have to be the force determining the direction of our state. The Latina/o, black, immigrant and other oppressed communities have enormous social power. But we need leaders to organize this power and place us in the position of power that is rightfully ours to make California into our California. BAMN is that leadership. BAMN needs to grow for our new movement to grow rather than be shut-down again. March 2nd should sort out the leaders determined to win from those whose real aim is to place themselves in the front of the movement in order to shut it down. We urge all of those leaders who want to win and who act on that sentiment on March 2nd to join BAMN. Defending public education as a right and stopping the cuts are too important to our lives to accept defeat, especially when victory is attainable. We call on all who refuses to condemn California’s Latina/o, black, immigrant and poor youth to a future devoid of educational opportunity, hope and dignity to join BAMN in building a movement with the political perspective and social power to win.

Nov. 18 Sit-In at UCSD. No more fee hikes. HELP US SPREAD THE WORD!!!

15 11 2010

Open Letter from CUCFA President Meister to UC President Yudof on This Year’s Tuition Increase

15 11 2010

TO: UC President Mark Yudof
FROM: Bob Meister, President of the Council of UC Faculty Associations, and Professor of Political and Social Thought, UC Santa Cruz
SUBJECT: Your Open Letter to Californians of November 8, 2010
DATE: 11/15/2010
CC: Governor-Elect Edmund G. Brown, Jr., Lieutenant Governor-Elect Gavin Newsom, and all UC students

So, you’re raising tuition again—reluctantly, and because you feel you have no choice, but, still, you’re doing it. You raised it last year by an amount that would largely offset what the state had cut from UC’s appropriation during the financial crisis. And this year you are raising it despite the fact that the state has restored half that dollar amount, thanks largely to student protests. I’ll pass over the fact that you’re not using funds from this year’s tuition increase to restore even half of last year’s instructional cuts on UC campuses. Instead, you encourage students to believe that two thirds of their new tuition will help avoid instructional cuts that would otherwise have occurred in some imagined future. It is evident to all, however, that UC’s instructional cost (cost per credit hour) is going down so that UC can channel funds into areas where costs are almost certain to go up—for example new construction projects that are unlikely to pay for themselves or research activities that will need to be subsidized (perhaps increasingly) by enrollment-generated funds. It seems that instruction is one of the few areas where UC administrators know how to economize, and that instructional fees are the only revenue stream that UC is confident of being able to increase, perhaps indefinitely.[1]

Why are you so sure that students will accept ever-increasing tuition even if instructional quality goes down? Well, I’ve never had the opportunity to ask you directly, but in my years of service on UC committees I’ve heard many times the usual explanation. It is, essentially, that higher education produces economic growth, which is why the state should pay for it. But economic growth also produces growing income inequality, which is why certain individual students should be expected to pay if the state does not. This theory made some sense in the late twentieth century when California’s high tech boom produced income growth only in the top 20% of the population (mostly educated), leaving 80% behind. In this context UC might reasonably expect the bottom 80% to be less willing to pay for higher education through taxes and the top 20% to be more willing to pay through increased fees. But in the twenty-first century, when almost all income growth has been in the top 1-2% of California’s population, UC is still marketing income inequality to students as its most important product: it now expects all students to pay more for an ever-shrinking chance of reaping the ever-growing rewards that our economy makes available to the few. Your plan to increase revenue through tuition growth is feasible, of course, only because the federal government still allows students to borrow more for education despite the greater likelihood that they will not be able to repay—student loans may be the last form of subprime credit available in our economy. As long as Californians regard equal educational opportunity as the same as equal access to credit, you can hope that they will borrow more for education as income inequality grows, even (and perhaps especially) in times of recession when economic opportunities are shrinking. If income inequality increases faster than the economy in good times, and also increases in bad times, it would seem that UC has a recession-proof plan for revenue growth, even though debt service on student loans can reduce post-matriculation spendable income for as long as 25 years. This cap is very recent—a reform enacted by the Obama administration, which recognized that students loans are not as easily repaid as they once were and that many higher education institutions are engaged in a form of predatory lending.

Click HERE for the rest of this letter.

October 7th National Day of Action to Defend Public Education and Public Services

6 10 2010

June 4th SPEAK OUT!

2 06 2010

Friday, June 4, 2010
12:00pm – 2:00pm
UCSD/Library Walk

March FOURTH is NOT over!!!!
On JUNE 4th Students, Workers, Professors, Lecturers, and Allies Stand United!






We stand united with the students of Puerto Rico. Together we must stop the privatization of our public education, we must fight for accessible higher education, we must boycott a system that prioritizes military and correctional spending over education, we must not accept the excuses of the regents who pretend their hands are tied.

We want to hear the voices of the students. We would like for you to share your stories and your thoughts on June 4th. Please follow the post to the google sign-up sheet below if you’re interested in addressing your peers, allies, and community. You are ALL leaders. Your stories and voices are important! We must speak out for all the students who do and will find higher education impossible to attain.


In Solidarity,
UCSD’s Coalition For Educational Justice