Since you’ve been gone

We’ll be back from our brief hiatus as soon as the semester begins, but in the meantime we wanted to provide a quick roundup of relevant developments in the privatization of the public university and — it should go without saying — resistance to it.  Most of these items will be familiar to many of our readers, but we’re including them in case you missed them over the break.

  • The University of Puerto Rico strike against a new $800 fee kicked off once again at the end of last semester, complete with gratuitous police violence simulcast around the world.  Unfortunately it was poorly timed, and the break eroded much of the strikers’ support.  The UPR strikers are calling for support and letters of solidarity as soon as possible.  The strike kicks off again today, 1/1/11.
  • The Chronicle broke a story just a few days before New Years, revealing that 36 of the UC’s highest paid executives are threatening to sue the university over limits to their exorbitant pension packages.  As things stand, those UC employees making in excess of $245,000 per year cannot earn pension returns beyond those who make that sum.  In other words, these 36 fat cats are whining that $183,750 annual pensions are not enough to support their families, demanding pensions that would in many cases exceed $300,000.  You can find the original letter containing the thinly veiled threat to sue the UC here.  Note that many of these 36 executives championed slashing underpaid campus workers’ pensions from $12,000 to $7,000 annually.  These are workers making roughly $26,000 per year.  And they want us to share the pain?
  • Unsurprisingly for a politician who ran on a platform of austerity, Jerry Brown announced $1.4 billion in cuts to public universities yesterday when he released his proposed budget.  This means $500 million each from the UC and CSU systems, and an additional $400 million from community colleges.  According to the Chronicle, “Hundreds of thousands of students are likely to be turned away from California State University and the community colleges next year, while the University of California won’t rule out raising tuition – again.”  This is also a milestone among a recent spate of state cuts to education; for the first time in the history of California public ed, the state’s contribution will be less than money raised from student tuition ($2.6 billion from the state v. $2.8 billion from students).  This so blatantly represents the privatization of the public university that even Mark Yudof was forced to remark, “This is a sad day for California.”  Indeed.  Too bad he’s on the wrong side of this struggle.

As the spring semester commences at Berkeley, we have more than enough on our plates to begin to mobilize immediately.  Of course March 2 is the next coordinated “day of action,” and we will be building along with many others for an inter-campus and inter-system walkout, and a couple weeks later the Regents will be addressing the pension demands of the 36 execs.  But we have no need to wait for March to arrive.  Let’s fight now! Over the next couple of weeks, we will be following the ongoing struggle within UAW 2865 and the expansion of AWaDU into a statewide all-UC caucus; the impending hearings of both the UCI-19 and Peter Howell; egregious missteps by UCPD; solidarity organizing with the Georgia prison strikers; continued organizing against the gang injunctions in Oakland; and much, much more.  As the semester begins, remember: the university belongs to those who use it! Don’t you dare forget it.

Hands off workers’ pensions!  Cut from the administrative-managerial class!

Debt-financed education is not “public”!

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4 responses to “Since you’ve been gone

  1. Why don’t you take the fight to where the “enemies” are. You say ‘the university administration’ is evil and keeping you down, but ‘the administration’ is not a single unit, nor is oppressive. People who work in the outreach and counseling offices are in ‘the administration,’ student affairs employees are in ‘the administration,’ but you need them. Someone makes a comment in support of your position and you still denounce them.

    The university has to make do with what its parent gives them. You want to hurt the disadvantaged because they can’t help you as much as you want. You get angry when the kid has friends who back them up when you try to beat them up. Why don’t you stop trying to beat up the kid who is suffering from low income and take it to the tax payers, take it to Sacramento, and take it to the hearts and minds of the people who you want to contribute to and support all of our education at a public university.

  2. Clearly “the administration” can be disaggregated as such, but does the fact that HR and payroll departments exist in most corporate structures mean we should never refer to “management”? Does the fact that social services exist mean we should never criticize “the state”? Obviously we are writing in shorthand and would not like to do away with outreach or counseling. This is a completely disingenuous criticism.

    More substantive however is your second point. Your representation of the administrative apparatus — UCOP, the Regents, and each campus administration — as the passive victim of state funding retrenchment is preposterous. Sacramento isn’t giving UC executives bonuses. Sacramento isn’t threatening to consolidate Ethnic Studies. Sacramento has nothing to do with administrative ballooning at the UC over the past decade. Sacramento isn’t responsible for closing the doors of the UC to working class students of color. Obviously we here at TWUI condemn Brown’s cuts, just as we were outspoken opponents of unions tossing money to that second-time-as-farce pol who ran on a platform anchored in austerity measures. But this is a two-front war. Jerry Brown didn’t lay off 280 workers at UCB alone this year while executives are getting raises and bonuses. If you think that likening UCOP and the Regents to a child is an apt metaphor in terms of culpability, you need to reassess your analysis.

  3. Amazing: we just found out that the above “Matt” posted his comment from UCOP offices!

    IP Address city: Oakland
    IP postcode: 94612
    IP latitude: 37.8091
    IP longitude: -122.2702
    ISP: University of California – Office of the President
    Organization: University of California – Office of the President
    Host: bow-103-206.ResHall.Berkeley.EDU

  4. viva la revolucion

    “Why don’t you stop trying to beat up the kid who is suffering from low income and take it to the tax payers, take it to Sacramento, and take it to the hearts and minds of the people who you want to contribute to and support all of our education at a public university.”

    wtf this is some cheesy shit right here

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