Update on the hunger strike

The hunger strikers released a set of 4 demands around 2:30 pm today, including the following:

  1. Reinstate the FTE staff positions in Ethnic Studies cut by organizational simplification under Operational Excellence
  2. End the current process of Operational Excellence
  3. Publicly support the Legislative Resolution ACR 34, co-authored by Assemblymembers Ricardo Lara and Luis A. Alejo in support of Ethnic Studies in California
  4. Publicly acknowledge the unfulfilled promise of the creation of a Third World College at UC Berkeley

Vice Chancellor Harry LeGrande — the guy in the ridiculous hat who tried to speak to protesters from the second floor of Wheeler on 3/3 but was booed — spoke to the strikers a few times and offered to meet with a few of them inside California Hall, but they refused.  The offer remains on the table.  Meanwhile, around 5 pm today, Vice Chancellor of Equity and Inclusion Gibor Basri and Dean of the Social Sciences Division Carla Hesse sent a written response to the strikers.  We are making it available below.

Suffice it to say that this letter is filled with the same sort of gutter tripe we’ve seen from these Vice Chancellors — how many of them are there? — again and again.  An unqualifiably economic issue — the imposition of austerity measures (“Operational Excellence”) — is rendered a matter of values in the most condescending sense of that word.  “We understand that you do not agree with the reasoning behind some of these reductions,” they write, “and we are happy to have further informed discussions about the process and rationale.”  And here’s the kicker: “Our hope is to understand one another better, given that we have the same ultimate goals for equity and inclusion.”  Ah, diversity.  Just invoke the word — who could possibly be against it after all? — and we’re all allies in this fight against…against whom?  Seriously.  Who is not for “equity and inclusion”?  Consolidating Ethnic Studies, 280 layoffs, impending fee hikes — these are objectively opposed to “equity and inclusion.”

We stand in solidarity with the hunger strikers against the cuts to Ethnic Studies and more broadly against the austerity measures being imposed on our campus.  We stand with them against the thinly veiled threat issued at the end of Basri and Hesse’s disgusting letter:

In the meantime, you are able to exercise free speech and protest, but are also bound by the campus rules on time, place, and manner (http://police.berkeley.edu/about_UCPD/news/news_101006.html).  These rules preclude overnight lodging or camping.

Shameless, these administrator are.  This is how they deal with students of color on this campus?  By threatening to have them arrested if they nonviolently remain — merely remaining — in front of a building, not even blocking the thing?  But we can’t say we’re surprised given this administration’s recent history, consistently unleashing so many Bay Area PDs on nonviolent students that we’ve become accustomed to riot squads in our classrooms.

Good looks to our allies from the Homies Empowerment Program who came out in support.  They need all the support they can get.  Be sure to stop by tomorrow and show them some love.

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2 responses to “Update on the hunger strike

  1. Pingback: Support Ethnic Studies, Join the Hunger Strike! | UC Rebel Radio

  2. Bleeding Californians: University of California’s Operational Excellence (OE). leadership (The author who has 35 years’ consulting experience, has taught at University of California Berkeley, where he was able to observe the culture & the way senior management work)

    Cal. Chancellor’s gross over spending, waste, abuse & inept decisions: recruits (using California tax $) out of state $50,000 tuition students that displace qualified Californians; spends $3,000,000 for consultants to do his & many vice chancellors jobs (prominent East Coast university accomplishing same at 0 cost); pays ex Michigan governor $300,000 for lectures; Latino enrollment drops while out of state jumps 2010; tuition to Return on Investment (ROI) drops below top 10; NCAA places basketball program on probation.

    Chancellor Birgeneau’s ($500,000 salary) fiscal track record is dismal indeed. He would like to blame the politicians, since they stopped giving him every dollar asked for, & the state legislators do share some responsibility for the financial crisis. But not in the sense he means.

    A competent chancellor would have been on top of identifying inefficiencies & then crafting a plan to fix them. Able oversight by the UC Board of Regents and the legislature would have required him to provide data on inefficiencies and on what steps he was taking to solve them during his 8 year reign. Instead, every year Birgeneau would request a budget increase, the timid regents would agree to it, and the legislature would provide. The hard questions were avoided by all concerned, & the problems just piled up to $150 million of inefficiencies….until there was no money left.

    It’s not that Birgeneau was unaware that there were, in fact, waste & inefficiencies during his 8 year reign. Faculty & staff raised issues with Birgeneau & Breslauer ($400,000 salary), but when they failed to see relevant action taken, they stopped. Finally, Birgeneau engaged some expensive ($3,000,000) consultants to tell him & the Provost what they should have known as leaders or been able to find out from the bright, engaged people. (Prominent east-coast University accomplishing same at 0 costs)

    Cal. and Californians have been badly damaged by Chancellor Birgeneau. Good people are loosing their jobs. Cal’s leadership is either incompetent or culpable. Merely cutting out inefficiencies does not have the effect desired. But you never want a crisis to go to waste.

    Increasing Cal’s budget is not enough; honorably retire Cal Chancellor Birgeneau ($500,000 salary)

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