Monday, March 01, 2010

March 4 Day of Action to Defend Education

I'm sure many of you have followed the protests that have been happening on University of California campuses since the fall, including major protests of 32% fee hikes in November. Following is a statement I wrote with 3 of my colleagues at UCLA to mark the national Day of Action to Defend Education, which is being taken up in a big way in California.

The Graduate Student Organization of the department of World Arts and Cultures at UCLA joins with students, staff, and faculty from K-12 schools, community colleges, CSUs, and UCs across California calling for a strike and day of action to defend public education on Thursday, March 4, 2010. Accordingly, we will neither teach nor attend classes in Kaufman Hall on that day.

Since September 2009, the WAC GSO has been part of the struggle to defend public education while also holding Chancellor Block, President Yudof, UCLA administration and the UC Regents accountable to a transparent budgeting process that prioritizes quality education – not capital improvements – and honors democratic participation and shared governance.
On March 4, we come together to say: “NO BUSINESS AS USUAL!” We mount our protest as one day of action in our ongoing struggle. As artists and scholars, we mobilize our creativity to
  • mourn cuts that have already resulted in loss of jobs for students and staff, and threaten to further diminish diversity among the student body
  • resist cuts in funding and student support services that lead to larger classes and lower standards of educational excellence
  • model a collective form of non-violent demonstration that builds community as it works toward the common good

Keeping in mind these urgent realities, we stand in solidarity with the long-term demands made by a broad coalition of students and educators from across California:

  1. Free fully funded education from pre-school through graduate school for all.  No privatization.
  2. No faculty and staff layoffs, furloughs and pay cuts.  Living wages for all workers.  Rescind the cuts.
  3. End of wars, bailouts, mass incarcerations.  Expand education, jobs, health care and social services.
  4. Democratize educational governance.  Students, workers and community control over the educational system.

We also support the program of the UCLA Fights Back Movement (covered today in the Huffington Post)

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