Hunger strike rally draws a couple hundred supporters

Just prior to the hunger strikers’ noon rally today, campus workers in AFSCME 3299 gathered at Telegraph and Bancroft with a few dozen supporters to rally against layoffs and cuts to their pensions.  Immediately afterward, the crowd marched over to California Hall to join the hunger strikers and their allies in defense of Ethnic Studies, Gender and Women’s Studies, and African American Studies, all of which are about to undergo full-time staff layoffs.

Speakers from the affected departments explained the situation, rearticulated their demands, and drew supporting statements from sympathetic faculty and City Councilmember Kriss Worthington.  Meanwhile the Daily Cal published one of the most reactionary editorials we’ve seen in months, including the statement:

The strikers’ goals were neither realistic nor representative of the entire student body, and we cannot imagine that they expected administrators to capitulate.

When restoring two full-time positions in already underfunded departments is preemptively dismissed as unrealistic, we can’t help but wonder if this editorial was ghostwritten by Margaret Thatcher: there is no alternative.  Just two semesters ago, a series of AFSCME pickets on this very campus proved successful in forcing the administration to rehire a handful of laid off employees.  If resisting budget cuts in the form of mass worker layoffs — 280 this school year alone — isn’t “representative of the entire student body,” then we are proud to say that not only is the Daily Cal not representative of students and workers on this campus, but it is fairly representative of the positions espoused by neoliberal proponents of austerity.  Once again, they have outdone themselves; disgusting.

Solidarity with the hunger strikers!  Defend Ethnic Studies!

Follow the hunger strikers on Twitter here.


One response to “Hunger strike rally draws a couple hundred supporters

  1. Solve the problems – $150+ million of inefficiencies – that occured under the 8 year reign of Chancellor Birgeneau.
    (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, inept decisions: recruits (using California tax $) out of state $50,000 tuition students that displace qualified Californians; spends $7,000,000 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 ($7,000,000) 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; we believe the best course of action for University of California is to honorably retire Cal Chancellor Birgeneau ($500,000 salary)

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