Archive for the ‘UC Santa Cruz’ Category

ACLU Raises Constitutional Concerns Regarding UCSC Judicial Process

27 April 2010

SAN FRANCISCO, CA  – The American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California has sent the UCSC administration a letter this morning expressing their concerns over the “constitutional failures in the University’s disciplinary process for students who are alleged to have participated in the protest at Kerr Hall in November 2009.”  The letter is highly critical of the UCSC administration pointing out significant flaws of due process that have occurred and continue to occur so far.

From the ACLU: “The ACLU of Northern California sent a letter today to the Chancellor and Chair of the Academic Senate at U.C. Santa Cruz, criticizing the University’s use of restitution as a penalty for students alleged to have participated in protests in November 2009.  The ACLU letter cites due process concerns, criticizing the University for subjecting students to a $944 fine without a hearing and without proof of individual responsibility for claimed damage.  The letter also criticizes the University’s failure to provide students who are being granted a hearing  for other forms of discipline with specific factual allegations of misconduct and a description of the evidence the University has of their alleged misconduct.”

The seven page letter is posted below:

View this document on Scribd

UC Santa Cruz Strike Committee Calls for Statewide Days of Action

23 April 2010

Call for Statewide Days of Action Around UC Regents’ Meeting, May 18-20

In Chile and Puerto Rico, in Austria, Greece, Italy, and Croatia, and in 33 states in the US—all over the world we are experiencing the systematic dismantling of education systems that supposedly serve the public. Students all over the world have begun to respond, through occupations, strikes, shutdowns, blockades, and other forms of direct action. We are starting to take back what is ours. (more…)

Students rally, demand end to UC’s kangaroo court system

16 April 2010

IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 16, 2010
University of California, Santa Cruz

UC Santa Cruz students demand an immediate end to the UC’s unconstitutional and coercive judicial proceedings directed at those who were present at or involved in the occupation of Kerr Hall during a three day political uproar against UC Regents’ 32% tuition hike in November 2009. Since the three-day occupation at which hundreds of students were present, along with faculty and family observers, UC admins have conducted a cynical political campaign against 36 students to silence them, charge them “restitution” fees in the amount of $34,000, and shut them out of a campus-wide dialogue concerning debilitating cuts to public education.

(more…)

Early draft of faculty letter slamming UC’s kangaroo court

16 April 2010

Here is an early draft we obtained of the UCSC faculty letter slamming the UC’s kangaroo court process. Over 100 faculty have signed on. We’re working on getting the final version…

12 April 2010

Dear Chancellor Blumenthal:

We write as faculty alarmed by the University’s disciplinary actions regarding the November 19-22 activities in and around Kerr Hall, and more specifically, the “Voluntary Resolution” agreements recently issued to students by Director of Student Judicial Affairs, Doug Zuidema. We worry that the implementation of the student judicial procedure in these cases violates constitutional due process and basic principles of fairness. These disciplinary actions also create a chilling effect on political dissent in the campus community.

(more…)

Itemized list of Kerr Hall “expenses”

13 April 2010

TWANAS obtained a copy of the admin’s itemized list of “damages” and expenses associated with the Kerr Hall occupation, totaling $34,992.04, for which [35] students are being fined $944 each and one spokesperson threatened with cancellation of her degree. A micro-level reprise of November’s fee hikes: the regents shamelessly robbing students to pay for bullshit. The list includes $8637 for paint even though there was no graffiti anywhere, and around $1000 related to lightly-damaged tables. At a time when the school is raising fees, firing employees and cutting entire majors, they decide to impose further financial hardships on students involved in protests just so they can waste the money making Kerr Hall look exactly like it did before November.

But you know what, bourgeois? There will be no return to normal.

Rally Against Student Repression at UCSC

13 April 2010

SANTA CRUZ, California – Students at UC Santa Cruz have announced a rally in response to judicial charges against 36 students, allegedly responsible for breaking student handbook codes for the occupation of Kerr Hall. The students are being charged $944 each, along with other varying sanctions.RSVP on Facebook.

Why the University is Trying to Expel Me

12 April 2010

SANTA CRUZ, California – The following is a statement published by Brian Glasscock in response to the charges and sanctions he faces.

The University is trying to expel me based upon two incidents.

The first incident took place in October of 2009. I was arrested and pepper-sprayed for carrying a picnic table outside of an occupation that took place at UC Santa Cruz at the Humanities 2 building. I and two other people were moving a picnic table out of the Humanities court yard where there was a dance party going on. The University is alleging that I was carrying the picnic table to barricade the door of the Humanities 2 building which was occupied at the time. Further, they argue that I was given enough time (30 to 45 seconds they state) to respond to police requests to put the table down before being pepper-sprayed. I however did not hear the police’s requests until right before I was pepper-sprayed because of the commotion and noise of the dance party. This incident has been used to suspend me and ban me from campus.

The second incident was my involvement in the Kerr Hall occupation in November. During the Kerr Hall occupation I participated in general assemblies which took place in the building. I did not participate any theft, property damage, nor any other purported actions the University says took place during the occupation. I took part in the general assemblies to show my support for the occupation, which effectively shut down UCSC’s administration for three days.

The UCSC administration is arguing that even this minor participation in general assemblies is a rule violation. This violation, my arrest at Humanities 2, and my previous judicial record are being used by the University as the ground for my expulsion.

I do not think that these incidents warrant an expulsion. The notation of expulsion will always be on my transcript and will effect my admissions to any other university while also preventing many future job prospects – it is an attack on my future and my ability to participate and thrive in this world.

My expulsion is part of a significantly more widespread campaign against students on campus. Many participants of the Kerr Hall occupation have received demands from the University to pay $944 dollars in restitution. They must pay this fine or they will be barred from enrolling in classes for the fall and those who have graduated this quarter will have their degrees withheld. There is no evidence linking these individuals to the alleged property damage that occurred. Instead, these fines are a blatantly a political attack meant to cause both academic and financial hardship. One other comrade, Olivia Egan-Rudolph, is also being suspended and banned from campus as well as having her degree withheld until December.

Throughout these proceedings the University has used an objective and legalistic discourse to mask the political nature of their attacks on participants. This process is everything but objective and is instead an attempt to neutralize a negative political situation. At other Universities–even private schools–there are typically trials by ones peers. That is not the case at the UC, as the final decision arbitrarily rests with various administrators who have a clear bias which raises serious questions about the fairness of the University’s proceedings.

The University wants to be done with me, they want me to disappear. They wish to make an example of all those who participated in Kerr Hall to dissuade people from continuing or beginning to take action on campus. We should not let them get away with this.

I need your help to fight my expulsion. It is urgent that we take collective action around these attacks. I am asking for your support for me and all those facing these charges.

If you have received a letter from UCSC regarding Kerr Hall please contact StudentLegalDefense [at] gmail [dot] com ASAP.

– Brian Glasscock

Handful of Students Given Outrageous Fines for UCSC Occupation

9 April 2010

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. – On February 8th, 2010, the UC Santa Cruz judicial affairs office sent approximately 45 e-mails to various undergraduate and graduate students. The e-mails present a list of 10 of the university codes of student conduct that had been allegedly broken by these students; these e-mails were identical, all including allegations of theft, destruction of property, disorderly or lewd conduct, among other codes said to have been broken at the November 2009 occupation of Kerr Hall at UCSC. The letter requested that the student in question meet with the judicial affairs officer, Doug Zuidema to discuss the allegations. In return, many if not all of these students met with Mr. Zuidema.

Last Wednesday, April 7th, 36 of these students received a resolution statement stating that they were responsible for breaking all 10 codes (each). Nine of the students that originally received a judicial summons in February were not found responsible for breaking the codes, however everyone that remains un-absolved of the allegations have apparently received identical charges. At this point, the university offers an appeal or a formal hearing process and has given these students a week to respond. As a part of the sanctions, the judicial affairs office has given a formal warning to the students and is requiring the students to pay a restitution to Kerr Hall of $944 each, paid by June 30, 2010. Additionally, some students have been given more severe sanctions including suspension and expulsion.

Among the students originally summoned include an officer of the Student Union Assembly, one of the three student journalists covering the event, and three of the five student negotiators. The student negotiators, uninvolved in the actual demonstration, had been asked by the occupiers to present and explain the demands to the administration and later negotiate with them. The judicial affairs office supposedly found the student journalist and one of the negotiators responsible for breaking all 10 codes.

The Kerr Hall occupation that had started on a Thursday and ended on a Sunday saw hundreds of individuals pass through its doors, ranging from students, teachers, community members and corporate media. However, these serious allegations have so far only targeted a small handful of students handpicked by the administration. Many students have requested to be given evidence that they were responsible for the charges, for instance, of theft or property destruction. The judicial affairs office told these students they would be contacted and shown evidence of their crimes, only later to indiscriminately fine them without producing any evidence.

The reality the university administration has naively yet to accept is that the occupation of the main administrative building on campus attracted hundreds of concerned students about the budget cuts and the tuition increases. Although staff members and administrators may have identified a few of them in the building, those grounds alone don’t equate to participation, let alone criminal charges that in truth should be handled in a court of law with proper legal representation, and not in an irresponsible imitation of a court proctored by the university administration with equally damaging consequences.

Reckless, inaccurate, inadequately supported and unjustified claims by the university continue to plague this process, suggesting both their incompetent disregard for students’ futures; but also the blatantly political nature of these charges that exist less like a fair legal dispute and more like a tactic of fear. A blanket financial charge incorrectly assumes equal fault which speaks less of an administration seeking restitution for damage and more of an administration too embarrassed to admit their inability to manage the university in a state of budgetary crisis. Challenging and scapegoating students as if the threat on the university is actually a student movement, disregards the real problem. Nearly thousand-dollar charges deter many students from participating in the fight against the budget cuts in fear of random unsubstantiated targeting, that is if the expensive restitution in itself doesn’t force the student to withdraw from the university entirely. On the other hand, even with the concession that thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars of damage had been done to an administrative building, these numbers pale in comparison to the billions of dollars in cuts we face. Somehow the quiet dismissal of students, both through targeting activists and decreased accessibility, is more suitable to the administration than accepting a proportionately small loss in favor of respecting students’ rights and a resistance to this crisis.

A legal defense has begun to be organized at UC Santa Cruz. They are requesting any individuals given similar judicial charges contact them immediately at studentlegaldefense [at] gmail [dot] com.

UPDATE: The list of charges is available at aUniversityWithoutStudents along with information stating that [35] people were sanctioned. The charges:

102.04 Theft of, conversion of, or damage to or destruction of, any property of the university or any property of others while on university premises, or possession of any property when the student had knowledge or reasonably should have had knowledge that it was stolen;

102.06 Unauthorized entry to, possession of, receipt of, duplication of, or use of any university services; equipment; resources; or properties, including the university’s name, insignia, or seal;

102.08 Conduct, which constitutes: c. a threat to the health or safety of any person;

102.13 Obstruction or disruption of teaching, research, administration, disciplinary procedures, or other university activities;

102.14 Disorderly or lewd conduct;

102.15 Participation in a disturbance of the peace or unlawful assembly;

102.16 Failure to identify oneself to, or comply with directions of, a university official or other public official acting in the performance of their duties while on university property or at official university functions, or resisting or obstructing such university or other public officials in the performance of or the attempt to perform their duties;

102.18 Blocking or impeding ingress to or egress from the campus, buildings or official university functions, including activity on non-university property;

102.33 In addition to the above, all federal, state, and local laws apply on or in university properties and at official university functions. Violators shall be subject to campus discipline procedures as well as any civil or criminal action that may be taken. For information regarding the laws, contact the University Police Department.

102.34 Guest Responsibility. Students are responsible for policy violations committed by their student and non-student guests while on university owned, leased or controlled property, at official university functions, or at organizational events on or off campus.

UCSC professors defend student strikers!

10 March 2010

http://checkingeducation.com/?p=702

To: The UCSC Community
From: Some UCSC Faculty (signatures below)

We write to object to CPEVC Kliger’s report issued on Thursday March 4 at 9:50 am regarding the demonstration [see below].

It is true that the demonstration successfully stopped “business as usual” on the UCSC campus. While this may have represented an inconvenience for some, it perhaps bears repeating that no significant social change occurs without some inconvenience.

Many faculty participated in the campus closure, some for the entire day, starting early in the morning. A number of us who were present at the two main entrances and at key intersections throughout the day can say with confidence that metal pipes, clubs, and knives were nowhere to be seen.

(more…)

we will sweep them aside

5 March 2010

One of the speeches made on March 4th at the UC Santa Cruz shutdown has been posted on reduniversity. Here is an excerpt:

The Administration here say that our strike here is impedeing learning, that we are destructive, that we are even violent. Their unbridled hypocrisy would be amusing if it were not believed by so many.

You say we are impedeing learning? Who’s the one slashing majors, cutting classes and firing lecturers?

You say we are destructive? What’s a dirty carpet or broken table against the corrupt way the UC regents are appointed and the shattered dreams of students saddled with debt?

You say we are Violent? Who’s the one obliterating the wages of hours of workers, enforcing cuts that will rip food off working class tables and push families out of their homes? (read more)

March 4

4 March 2010

News & Updates from March 4

In California hundreds of rallies took place (more than listed below). Other good sources: SocialistWorker, Indybay.

(Feel free to comment with corrections. Last update: 10:10am mar.7.10)

University of California

UC Santa Cruz

5:00am: Students out blocking streets at the intersection of High & Western, Hagar and Coolidge, and the western entrance of campus effective shutting it down. Only people on foot can enter campus.

6:30am - High and Western

7:00am: Some people have been hit by cars breaking the picket line, breaking someone’s leg and hitting another 3 or so people.

Tan volvo plowing through strikers despite it was being let through slowly. The car accelerated as strikers were trying to control traffic flow traveling down High street.

8:00am: Campus administrators activated the CruzAlert messaging system with the following message “Please avoid both campus entrances due to safety concerns. Check web or 459-INFO at noon for update.” (source)

9:40am: Currently a rally is being held at the main entrance (i.e. the east entrance) with 250 participants. For a while 2 helicopters were flying above. The students blocking the intersection of High and Western have left after most of the workers were blocked from entering campus (it would appear some dining hall workers were able to get on campus, but many others were unable to get on campus). Many of the workers are now here supporting the students.

Earlier this morning, multiple students were injured by two separate incidents where cars rushed the strike line (one at the intersection of Hagar and Coolidge, and the second at the intersection of High and Western). The car at Hagar and Coolidge was tailgating a police car being let through, students then approached the vehicle to stand in front of it and tell them about the strike. The car hit the gas and drove into the mass, injuring a student’s leg, fortunately not broken. In the incident at High and Western, a tan volvo began accelerating into the crowd blocking the street, despite the fact that cars driving down High (away from campus) were being slowly let through. The volvo hit around 5 students, one student flipped over the hood of the car and over the top, breaking the rear window as the student fell off the back. As the volvo sped away, students kicked the car, denting it. Several cars and motorcycles have tried to slowly push through the crowd through out the day, but all failed. Rumors of other car incidents exist, but the others have yet to be confirmed.

Also, earlier this morning a banner was hung over highway 1, stating “March 4 Defend Education!”

11:40am: While most of the protesters are at the main entrance and the west entrance, some of the protesters are at Hagar and Coolidge to watch out for supervisors forcing workers to trek up the long and steep hill to get to work. Supervisors began leading the workers up the hill past a handful of students in the intersection before the students could organize themselves. As more students came to support the other students in the intersection, they realized the workers and supervisors were already around 50 feet away up the hill to campus. So around 15 students ran up the hill to form a line to blockade the workers. The police arrived and dispersed the line, telling the students that they had made a “physical threat” on the workers. As the workers passed by, they shouted that there was no physical threat. So as the police returned to their vehicle, the students yet again ran up the hill the block the workers from getting further into campus. The police immediately turned around and approached the students to disperse them. However by now, the workers turned around and spoke to their supervisors claiming they couldn’t get through, the supervisors conceded and the workers were allowed to go home

1:00pm: Around 500 have rallied at the base of campus. Video below was taken around 12:45pm, the rally as of 1:15pm is still going.

1:55pm: Students are redistributing themselves around campus for maximum effectiveness. Around 60 people are at Hagar and Coolidge warning people that they may not be able to re-enter campus if they leave. They are also watching out for supervisors forcing workers to get onto campus still.

2:50pm: Strikers are now relaxing on the grass at the main entrance listening to a live band. The strike is mostly split up into three locations, Lower Campus (Hagar and Coolidge), Main Entrance (i.e. East Entrance), and the West Entrance.

3:20pm: Earlier story about a prius running into students and driving onto sidewalk at High and Western has been confirmed. At least one student broke some fingers when the car recklessly plowed through the crowd.

5:30pm: A general assembly starts

6:30pm: The general assembly decides to take the protest downtown.

7:11pm: 300 Students walk through Pacific Ave.

7:30pm: The students have rallied at the clock tower.

9:10pm: Students dissipate.

UC Berkeley

1:20pm: Around 1000 people walking down telegraph (currently crossed at 66 ave.) for a rally with students from community colleges, CSU’s, and elementary school folks at city hall in Oakland.

3:10pm: The march has reached Frank Ogawa plaza.

After the rally, protesters marched to highway I-880. Around 150 protesters were arrested.

7:00am: Most all of the ~40 arrested taken to North County Jail in Oakland out, charged with 2 misdemeanors and an infraction (obstructing traffic, unlawful assembly, failure to obey signs).

8:00am: Approximately 80 of the arrested at Santa Rita jail should start being released around 11am. They need rides!

Frank Ogawa Plaza

Ogawa Plaza around 3:30pm

More photos on indybay here.

UC Davis

12:50pm: Students at UC Davis have shut down the bus terminal and the main street in Davis.

1:12pm: Students march down Russell st. and are now shutting down the freeway.

3:10pm: One student has been arrested, dozens of others have been shot by rubber bullets. They are currently on the street near the offramp and have been given a deal from the police stating that they will release the student arrested if they leave the offramp now.

3:30pm: Police using pepper spray pellets!

4:00pm: Students walking back to campus.

4:30: Students march through buildings pulling fire alarms, and from there they returned to Russell and La Rue where they shut down the intersection for several hours.

UCLA

1:40pm: Soft occupation at Murphy Hall

2:00pm: correction, sit-in

6:20pm: Outside supporters have been lead to believe that students sitting inside will be arrested.

6:40pm: Sit-in protesters all released.

UC Irvine

1:50pm: Around 400 students are walking around campus urging others to join them in striking.  According to OC Weekly, numbers increased to 800.  One of the largest protests in recent campus history.

2:00pm: Students take to the streets and head towards freeway 73.  Students clear one police line and continue down University Avenue.

2:34pm: Students moving back to campus after being stopped by police again.  Police: “Immediately return to campus!”

2:50pm: Students gathering at Langson Library.

2:55pm: UC Irvine temporarily occupied with barricades at Langson Library.  Students move to Gateway Study Center and lock down several doors before clearing out.

3:30pm: Students were unable to hold down the occupations, so they are now out and marching again.

3:45pm: Aldrich Hall, the admin building, was locked down with 15-20 police inside, so students held an impromptu general assembly in front of Aldrich.

Students blocking traffic on Campus Ave. (from local news)

UC San Diego

4:00pm: According to one source, 2000-3000 people, another source 1500-2000, (mostly students, with some teachers and parents) marched from Balboa park to the Governor’s Office downtown.

March 4 Banner Drop

UC Riverside

3:21pm: According to Daily Cal, somewhere near a 1000 students marching downtown.

UC Santa Barbara

According to one commenter:

12:00 noon rally at UCSB Arbor plaza draws 1000+ students, workers, teachers, biggest rally in UCSB’s recent history

1:30 PM – Rally heads downtown, most people use free bus service while about 50 take part in a Critical Mass ride downtown

3:40 PM – UCSB students, students and teachers from other schools gather at De La Guerra Plaza downtown, ~500 people take State St. for an unpermitted march down State.

4:00 PM – March has turned around and marches back up State, grows to ~1000 as it passes De La Guerra Plaza again.  State St. is totally clogged with a massive march.

4:30 PM – Marchers arrive at the courthouse for a rally, with speakers including students, faculty and local politicians.  Crowd disperses following the rally.

(special thanks to coyote)

UCSB ~4pm

California State University

San Francisco State University

They held a rally that ended at 2pm with 500 people. The rally later turned into a dance party. Another party is going to be held Thursday night at 10pm at Malcolm X plaza.

San Francisco (General)

According to Socialist Worker, [20,000+] people are protesting at the civic center.

CSU Northridge

DailyCal says that a Rally with thousands come out for a “funeral service”. While Socialist Worker is stating that nearly 6000 come out for a protest in Northridge resulting in at least one injury and several arrests. Protesters are apparently waiting outside the jail.

According to one commenter:

A few of us started organizing for the day around 10AM; making posters, mostly.

Around 11:30AM, we ran screaming for a walk-out with noisemakers/pots/bullhorns throughout various campus buildings.  A lot of people joined us and we marched to a nearby busy intersection (Nordhoff/Reseda).  There was an invasion through the library and some more buildings with a long line of people calling for a walk-out.

We met back at the busy intersection and invaded the center…police came soon and cleared up the streets.  A few people refused to move.  A couple local news stations came to report, and the occupation of the middle of the street continued.

Around 2:30PM, we went back to campus and gathered a huge crowd on the Oviatt Library quad.

At 3:45PM, we began the march with CSU Channel Islands students/faculty.  We all took to the streets and marched around campus.

By 6:30PM, enough of us had begun an occupation of yet another intersection (Reseda/Prairie).  This was when police threatened to arrest due to “unlawful assembly in the streets” and “trespassing.”  A little while later, they began to threaten tear gas.  Two people got arrested so far.

By 7:30PM, five people had been arrested and one of our professors, 74-yr old Dr. Olsen, was knocked down and her arm stepped on by the police.  She’s currently at the hospital.

By 8:00PM, we invaded the space outside the library and talked to the media, reorganized, and planned for a press conference March 5th (today).  Word started to go around that the students who got arrested were getting booked/released.

Summary ?  Huge misrepresentation by the media. Police not the nicest of nice. Lots of people from the surrounding community made this CSUN protest big. Anger at our president for misrepresenting what happened last night through her statement. Good energy going around those who were part of the event; plans of having CSUN fund buses for the March 22nd rally at Sacramento.

(special thanks to Billimarie)

CSU Los Angeles

According to the blog EastsideLA, a March 4 rally started at CSULA which later traveled through parts of Los Angeles, through areas like Little Tokyo. Sometimes the marchers were on streets, other times they were corralled by police to stick to the sidewalks. EastsideLA remarked how controlled the march felt, from both police and some organizers. They also commented how elements of the march were joyous and fun as such a protest should be. Crowd estimates appeared to be a little over a thousand.

special thanks to Julio at EastsideLA.com

special thanks to Julio at EastsideLA.com

Los Angeles (general): Socialist Worker says 4000 rally in downtown.

CSU Fullerton

At noon several fire alarms were pulled and hundreds of people poured in to Humanities Plaza for a rally and march through the campus.

CSU Monterey Bay

from indybay:

Around noon, students, staff and faculty participated in a walkout and marched from either end of campus to a rally in front of the Student Center. A few hundred people attended the rally. Some student bands played throughout the day while students danced to the music. Student, staff, and faculty members spoke about cuts to public education and related issues, from spending money on wars and prisons to the systemic injustice that prevents so many people from attaining higher education.

In the evening, some of the protesters from campus went to a community rally at Colton Hall (the sight of the first public school in California) in downtown Monterey. They joined people from local community colleges, K-12 schools, and members of various labor unions.

video here at indybay

CSU Fresno

4:32pm: According to DailyCal, an occupation of administration’s offices with 30-40 people.

5:17pm: They say 32 occupiers still holding it down.

10:30pm: Occupation ends. Occupiers leave without being arrested. see indybay.

Watch a video of an interview inside the Joyal Administration occupation.

California Community College

Cañada College (Redwood City, CA)

200 walk-out

Skyline College (San Bruno, CA)

500 march through campus and almost every building, then hold a rally. Carloads of Skyline College stakeholders join those at SF civic center.

City College of San Francisco

An original rap at CCSF.

Lyrics:

We got all these corporations erasing education
standarized testing placement exam evaporation
this is no exaggeration; let’s get rid of this abberation!
Student Occupation- it’s now ours for the taking
what should have been all along, this is democracy in the making
not a fire evacuation or a sly accusation
THIS IS NOT A DRILL, now you know were not faking
aint gonna hide under desks of leave the classrooms vacant
just teach-ins reclaiming the history you were debasing
free food with Food Not Bombs special catering baking
Love and knowledge; it’s a collage at City College
all the cultures reconnecting and solving the problems from the bottom

[Chorus]
[i]Put your hands in the air if you want books not war
Democracy (what?),Tthat’s what the people is for!
Put your hands in the air if you want books not war
Democracy (what?), That’s what the people is for![/i]

Grass Roots, we’ve all got em- in the soles of our feet
and the souls that is a part of every energy being
every day they working hard to try to tear up your dreams
racism on the radios and consumerist bling
but now it’s time to shine and let freedom sing
The future is now; we’re the ones here to claim
The Rosenberg Library? I say it’s time to rename it-
repaint it like all the murals that made the Mission famous
aint gonna let a business suit calm us down or try to tame us
we’re WILD and free; we love it can you blame us?
Sorry Swarzinagger but we broke out of the cages
with solidarity K through 12 and all ages

[Chorus]
[i]Put your hands in the air if you want books not war
Democracy (what?),Tthat’s what the people is for!
Put your hands in the air if you want books not war
Democracy (what?), That’s what the people is for![/i]

Textbooks is now free; take copyrights off of pages
Don’t need leaders or sages to mold our consent
when our rights is threatened it’s our time to dissent
throw up your middle finger to this one-party government
I didn’t vote for this war; I say you bring back our men
That’s my word and it’s as sure as the ink in this pen
that causes hysterics with these lyrics to throw me back in the pen
but I’ll do it again; a no compromise kinda guy
we comprised a bee storm after you swapping us like flies
like a video game set to unlimited lives
the people never give up and they infinite as the skies
We took off your disguise and blocked your deflectors
The board of directors is just a horde of rejectors
aint gonna listen to us until we unite as protectors
Call out to all sectors; we’re here and we’re permanent
The powers that be; you better be learning from it
We’re sick of your greed and sick of your rules
you wanna gut education well…
you about to get schooled!

Cabrillo College

check out more photos and information from Cabrillo Solidarity

from CabrilloSolidarity.wordpress.com

California K-12

Pajaro Valley/Watsonville

Around 200 protest, more from indybay.

Castro Valley

400 rally in busiest intersection

Out of State

SUNY – State University of New York

3:00pm: SUNY purchase occupied (see website)

Solidarity to all students, workers and faculty!

We ‘ve taken over the Student Services Building. We started on the bottom level, turning a meager rally into a protest-party on the inside.Students are chanting, singing, dancing. The energy moved upstairs to the second floor where a folk group is performing right now. Downstairs another band is about to play. We are holding space and reclaiming it as ours. We will not leave!

The local media showed up for the rally outside but left before we went inward. Channel 12 and other local media sources watched as the president of our school spoke. Students were the real stars, the expression of solidarity was fantastic. Food not bombs came out to feed everyone that was hungry, we screened the occupation of wheeler hall so passerbys could connect with the struggles in the west. Students are making noise!!!!, and celebrated our ability to come together. It’s more than just tuition hikes and budget cuts,

WE are not leaving! This IS just the beginning!

Slideshow & Audio from SUNY Purchase occupation.

CUNY Hunter

CUNY – Brooklyn College

Hundreds participated in a successful teach

New York (general): Check out takethecity and reoccupied for updates.

University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee

a big protest (~250), major police repression. 18 students arrested for trying to peacefully visit their chancellor!

Info and videos here: http://sdsmke.com/

University of Oklahoma

Warren Wilson College


University of Illinois, Chicago

250 protest, joined by SEIU Local 73

University of Massachusetts

from occupyboston.wordpress.com

String of Racism continues at UC Santa Cruz

1 March 2010

SANTA CRUZ, California – Earlier today, a message was found written in a women’s bathroom in the Earth and Marine Sciences building at UC Santa Cruz. The message read, “San Diego Lynch” with a drawing of a noose referencing the noose found at UC San Diego last week.

(We don’t mean to throw gasoline on a fire. We were not originally intending to post this in fear of sensationalizing what appears to be one among many despicably racist messages commonly found in bathrooms. However, the UCSC Chancellor has already sent out a message to respond to this. This is not news, this is just disgusting.)

March 4 the Regents!: How and Why a Movement gets Co-opted

27 February 2010

March 1st

The regents think it’s a great idea. Blumenthal is beside himself. It’s so great that the students are mobilizing to go to Sacramento. Student leaders are excited: the regents are with us! Sacramento must listen!

On the regents’ side, it’s perfect. The shift to Sacramento solves two problems that the student movement poses. First, it gets the students off of their backs, displacing the anger further up – an age-old tactic of bureaucrats. The removal of antagonism between students and regents allows them to declare themselves on our side, which they of course could not do with the occupations or campus blockades, or when they needed busloads of riot cops with tear gas guns just to hold a “public” meeting. Second, it incorporates the movement, keeping it confined to sanctioned action. As soon as a coalition of student leaders, faculty, unions, and (oh how wonderful) administrators unites in Sacramento, the path is clear: lobbying, symbolic demonstrations, cliché-as-fuck chants and picket signs: in short, a managed movement.

Just as the university pits students against workers, making them compete for limited resources, so the state is now pitting all university stakeholders against prisoners and potentially against all other public programs. UCSA, the system-wide student government, is perfectly content to play this game, calling for a “March for Higher Education” starting with March 1st in Sacramento. Yes, the title is annoyingly snappy, but notice too that their version of the movement is reduced entirely to fighting for “higher education.” A mobilization that grew from a statewide conference of students, teachers, etc. from all levels of public education — an effort to build solidarity in order to combat the state’s divide-and-conquer techniques — is now being commandeered to push for a slightly larger share of the pie for our little divided-and-conquered sector. UCSA accepts and promotes the “we all have to compete for ever-decreasing resources, so we should do our best to get ours” logic. Most of the media does not even mention the component of the movement that is outside of “higher education” or outside of education entirely. But as long as this remains a student movement, it will do nothing more than what student movements invariably do: try to make the educational system marginally better for a little while. Those in power can use this tactic to the extent that we are divided: as long as there is only a student movement, no matter how strong it may be, it can easily be displaced, appeased, and absorbed.

The question, then, is whether we need/want fundamental change or just the reactionary reform that will get us partway back to the greatness of the UC in the 80s or the 60s. Another aspect of the same question is whether the administrators and politicians are with us – that is, benevolent, well-intentioned (if misguided in their policy decisions) workers who, with our constructive input and a lot of compromise, can help us improve things — or whether they are objectively opposed to us and our interests, inevitably an obstacle to any worthwhile goals (free education, free society, etc.).

It is becoming increasingly clear to most students that their education is going into the shitter, yet many still cling to the idea that the regents, as well as state legislators, are doing their best in a bad situation. They call us cynical for acknowledging that these powerful men can never give us what we need, but really they are the cynics, for it follows from their logic that education could not get much better than it is now: despite the best effort of so many intelligent, good people, nothing can be fixed.

It’s not difficult, however, to see that power serves itself — that those in power (and their representatives) will tend to make decisions that reinforce their own power — and that their very position opposes them to us. All one needs to do is listen to their words.

The Regents

“Students are a legitimate voice. [Students] are there as a consumer, and we are seeing if our product is fulfilling your needs,” said chairman of the board of Regents Russel Gould (emphasis added). Rarely do we see such a blatant expression of the market logic with which they govern the university. Of course it shouldn’t be surprising — Gould, like most regents, has years of experience as a CEO (Wachovia is his most recent gig, and he’s made millions from the bailouts — see the 2009 UCSC Disorientation Guide). And nobody can deny the capitalistic nature of the modern university system: he runs it like a business because it is a business. However, he does not admit the flip side of the knowledge-market game: we are not just consumers, but also producers in this all-encompassing system. Like workers in 19th century factory towns owned entirely by the capitalists – where employees work in the company factory, live in company housing, shop at the company store, etc. – our lives are entirely monopolized by the university system.

We are paying to receive knowledge, while at the same time we are the producers of knowledge. Maybe professors do more of the ‘production’ while undergrads do more of the ‘consumption,’ but before one can teach or research or write one must pay to study for 4 or 5 or 10 years. In any case, it’s not as if students simply pay professors to teach them. Rather, there is a whole array of mediations, allowing a massive university bureaucracy to arise, allowing funding bodies to control research, allowing profits to be made at every level — from books to loans to standardized testing. The university employs an integrating strategy: all production and circulation of knowledge must pass through it; our desires to learn and to teach are forced into an increasingly privatized (that is, profitable) system.

Many students recognize that they could learn just as much by simply reading and discussing with their peers. Programs like the community studies field study program, which give credit for basically doing non-academic work independently, are praised as innovative. We recognize independent study as “a good deal” compared to traditional classes – less work, more flexibility, taking the classroom out of learning. Thus the tendency toward providing nothing. We know that self-directed learning is more effective and enjoyable than passive receipt of information, but then why do we need the university at all? Despite their talk, anyone who is a student (myself included) is unwilling to give the decisive “fuck you” to the university and drop out. Of course this is because what they want to do, what they want to be, does not depend primarily on knowledge, experience, etc. but on the degree. Academia is a closed system. It exists as a complex spreading out from universities into industry, government, and even social life. Knowledge without the degree gets you nothing; all paths lead through them.

The university system has monopolized knowledge, enlightenment, and even social advancement. Like the rest of the private (and public!) spheres, they have isolated a realm of desire and capitalized on it. The rulers of education are simply knowledge profiteers…

Schwarzenegger

What does it say about any state that focuses more on prison uniforms than on caps and gowns?” asked Schwarzenegger recently. “It simply is not healthy.”

He takes his rhetoric directly from the movement. And activists can pat themselves on the back since, according to his chief of staff, Susan Kennedy, “Those protests on the UC campuses were the tipping point.” Never mind that the budget increase will never make it through the Legislature, as ex-chairman of the Board of Regents Richard Blum (among others) has confirmed. The significant thing here is that state politicians, just like the regents, are able to win popularity and de-escalate the movement by simply affirming its rhetoric and making empty promises. The fact that it’s working shows that all the movement is looking for right now is a policymaker who will “actually listen” (and make empty promises).

Choosing universities over prisons . . . is a historic and transforming realignment of California’s priorities.”

Here he attempts to appease a group that has recently gained some political influence and public sympathy — students — by fucking over a politically powerless (and sympathy-less) group — prisoners. But in reality he’s not choosing education over incarceration, he’s simply choosing to capitalize more on both. The word realignment is a misleading appeal to the widespread sense of the UC’s lost greatness. Yet he doesn’t suggest reducing tuition to even the ballpark that it used to be in. There is no hope of tuition being reduced at all, nor even of preventing the increase (and future increases, to be sure). All he is doing here is making the rhetoric of “money for education, not incarceration,” fit with a neoliberal agenda — i.e. privatize everything.

But as always, only the profits are privatized — the costs are still socialized. Perhaps taxpayers will spend less on prisons, but that money will simply be invested in the university system, which has proven to be extremely profitable for private capital, especially in recent years. As professor Bob Meister’s excellent letter to students, “They Pledged Your Tuition,” explains, the tendency of the university in recent years has been to spend more on construction, development, and other investor-friendly activities (see http://www.cucfa.org/news/tuition_bonds.php). More than the scandalous amount paid to execs, the real drain on university funds is the constant flow of capital out into the private sphere. The regents vote to build more shit, the university sells bonds (backed by your tuition) to private investors to raise capital, transfers that capital to whatever company is contracted, and then pays back the bonds with state and/or tuition money. This is happening as we speak, as we struggle. The SF Chronicle has reported on the outrage that the regents voted to increase executive salaries during the same meetings in which they cut key programs and implemented furloughs. What they neglected to report was that at those same meetings they also approved new multi-million dollar construction projects funded by selling bonds. But putting a stop to expansion, of course, is not on the table, for no matter how tough things get, the university must remain profitable (if it weren’t, they would have a real crisis!). Schwarzenegger’s plan simply ensures this profitability and ensures investor confidence, while at the same time paving the way for increased profits in the prison industry.

A line from his State of the State address pretty well sums up how he sees us:

“The number of high technology companies that we have in California is related to how many brilliant scientists we have in our universities… which in turn relates to how many smart undergraduates we have… which is related to the number of high school students who graduate… and it goes down through the grades. That small child with the sticky hands starting the first day in kindergarten is the foundation of California’s economic power and leadership. We must invest in education.”

From the moment we enter the public sphere as snot-nosed little kindergartners, our masters see us as one thing, and one thing only: human capital.

Co-optation

Gould: “[Students and regents] have a lot of common ground.” That ground is exactly the terrain of co-optability.

One criterion to judge any struggle by is the extent to which it gets co-opted by those in power. Student regent Jesse Cheng explains the process like this: “What has happened with recent student actions has made student activism part of the equation. Regents are now saying, ‘We recognize your force, and want to be part of it.'” (emphasis added). Cheng thinks this indicates the movement’s strength, but in reality it shows its weakness.

Our revolutionary potential will be co-opted to the extent that its content is co-optable (i.e. symbolic actions, reformist demands…). It will remain unauthorized and potentially effective to the extent that its content is truly threatening. It may seem obvious (and tautological) that we will remain hostile to them as long as we take hostile action… But there is nothing else to it. Activists and revolutionaries use moralistic language to express their outrage when their movements are co-opted, whether by political parties, unions, or, in this case, by the management itself (that is, by those who are objectively opposed to us but whose power relies on the myth of their benevolence): “How could they steal our movement like that?!” “How could our comrades sell us out like that?!” Etc. The only thing that co-optation shows, however, is that our actions have failed to truly oppose the opposition. And all the more so if they ignore us — they will tend to choose whichever strategy works best for them. But when we take action that truly threatens them, they can neither ignore us nor co-opt us.

In the case of student struggles, this means strategic disruptive action. It means absolutely not respecting the authority of the administration nor the proceduralism they prescribe. The procedures that they claim must be followed if you really want to change things, are simply dams and dikes that channel oppositional potential into controlled, harmless forms. Beyond simply disrespecting the regents, chancellor, student government, etc., we must recognize them as adversaries, as would-be co-opters, and we must actively oppose them. And for our struggles to have any chance of precipitating real change, action must go beyond the university, taking on forms that counter their pathetic attempts at displacing the burden onto less organized, less powerful parts of society.

The Crisis

We are not interested in questions of responsibility, of who is to blame — at the university, state, national, or world level — for the current crisis. Technically, we have as much responsibility as anyone else, just by virtue of having desires. We should be proud. Just by living and breathing and having human needs, we threaten the system that idealizes mindless production and consumption.

Capitalism cannot solve the problem of our existence. What has transpired is neither poor management by benevolent policy-makers nor the unchecked greed of so many bad men. Rather, it is the inevitable manifestation of a fundamental insolvency. We are not interested in how to manage the crisis, nor do we care whose fault it is, nor can we accept any partial solutions. There is no solution without removing the contradiction at the heart of the crisis. From the point of view of those in power, resolving the contradiction would require learning how to dehumanize humans – to fully mechanize and atomize production and the producers themselves. From our perspective, overcoming the contradiction requires not only making education free, but overcoming capitalist relations as a whole. We cannot solve the crisis within the current system because we are the crisis of the current system.

Thus we should move from questions of should we fight? to how do we fight? We have seen that the most tempting routes — those that will attract the most media attention, win the widest public support, and feel the most inspiring — will end up working to the advantage of our enemies. We should remember some of Marx’s words on the subject of creating lasting change:

Bourgeois revolutions . . . storm swiftly from success to success; their dramatic effects outdo each other; men and things seem set in sparkling brilliants; ecstasy is the everyday spirit; but they are short-lived; soon they have attained their zenith, and a long crapulent depression lays hold of society before it learns soberly to assimilate the results of its storm-and-stress period. On the other hand, proletarian revolutions . . . criticize themselves constantly, interrupt themselves continually in their own course, come back to the apparently accomplished in order to begin it afresh, deride with unmerciful thoroughness the inadequacies, weaknesses, and paltriness of their first attempts, seem to throw down their adversary only in order that he may draw new strength from the earth and rise again, more gigantic, before them, recoil ever and anon from the indefinite prodigiousness of their own aims, until a situation has been created which makes all turning back impossible…” (from The 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte; emphasis added).

I am not trying to argue that we should model a movement around any supposedly proletarian or Marxist revolution in history, nor am I saying that we need to be more proletarian and less bourgeois. But what characterizes the great bourgeois revolutions for Marx is the co-optation of revolutionary desire, action, and organizational structure by those who want only to increase their own power and to create and protect the conditions of efficient exploitation. This strategy succeeds where the revolutionaries are unwilling to destroy the old world and the new world, to destroy even what they create. We do not need to build a large, hardened organizational apparatus that can push for gradual, slow, strategic change. Our action must be immediate, radical, and collectively organized. What does need to be changed is our desire for immediate, spectacular victory. Many of us are accustomed to working with activist organizations whose particular campaigns can indeed be won in the short term. We need to untrain ourselves from this tendency and set our sights on long-term liberation. The spectacular wins of the 60s were all well and good, but they were simply rolled back and chiseled away when the political and economic climate changed.

Marching to Sacramento with the regents and the student government will certainly be well-covered in the media. It will be celebrated as historic. And that’s all it will be, and that’s all it will do.


Dance Party at UCSC

26 February 2010

Santa Cruz, CA – Around 10:15pm, a dance party began in Porter college at UCSC.

10:50pm: Now about 60 people.  Party has moved onto the small stage in Porter Quad.

11:20pm: Party has moved into Kresge classroom 327. Occupation is on!

11:25pm: Numbers increased to 100+.

11:40pm: Party has moved back outside.  Chanting “March 4th!”

12:10am: Party has crossed a bridge, past Sciences, to Colleges 9 & 10.  Passed a bus, and at the next stop a dozen people on the bus joined the dance party!

12:35am: The party has moved into Humanities 2.

12:42am: Now 250+ people.

Summary:

UCSC is divided into ten colleges, all of them paired with another.

The dance party started small in the Porter quad, and after swelling to about 50-60 people, it moved through the college and into the next college, Kresge. There it made a stop inside an empty classroom for a while. The roving dance party made its way around Kresge college collecting more dancers and made its way to the other side of campus (going over a bridge, and up Science Hill). At college 9/10, more students joined, and for a while the party actually made its way through the first floor of a dormitory. They then descended down the street and into the Humanities area of campus, and entering the Humanities 2 building. After leaving the building, the party continued into Cowell college through a central building, and out into a courtyard where the party grew larger. Finally, the group made its way down the hill into the Quarry Plaza (where the Graduate Student Commons resides). The party raged on well after 2am, and then dispersed as quickly as it started.

Through out the evening, multiple buildings were temporarily seized and vacated with ease–leaving only a trail of fading music.

ucsc banner drop

25 February 2010

a banner drop at UC Santa Cruz on February 25, 2010