We support UCSC graduate students on strike
On February 28, 2020, University of California-Santa Cruz (UCSC) Executive Vice Chancellor Lori Kletzer sent out a campus-wide email informing students that at least 54 graduate students had been either dismissed or barred from their spring quarter appointments, effectively leading undocumented students to deportation.
These dismissals come as a result of a grading strike that began in December 2019, and a full teaching strike that began earlier in February.
What the graduate students at UCSC are demanding is simple: a $1412 cost of living adjustment (COLA).
Our academic institutions should not be prioritizing profit over education, but it is becoming more clear every day that administrators would rather line their own pockets, as well as the pockets of the police, than pay graduate students enough to lift them out of rent burden.
Our academic institutions should not have heavy police presence, and we should not be spending upwards of $300 thousand dollars per day on paying police to occupy space at our places of learning.
Furthermore, our academic institutions should not be controlled and governed by individuals with direct ties to military and corrupt government entities such as ICE—University of California President Janet Napolitano previously served as the United States Secretary of Homeland Security—they should be governed by students.
Right now, the University of California is deploying oppressive tactics against its own students. Threats of deportation, dismissal, and efforts to divide undergraduate and graduate students have made it increasingly clear that it does not care about its student body.
As a youth organization comprised entirely of students in California, this is personal. We’ve spent the past two years calling out our politicians for prioritizing profit over people. Our academic institutions are no different, and they should be held to the same standard.
We live in a crucial moment of radical change and organizing amongst not only students, but among educators. Graduate students are both. They are, without a doubt, the backbone of all of our universities.
Following in the steps of our fellow chapter in Florida, who used their platform to support their striking teachers back in January, we are using our power and platform to support our striking graduate students.
March For Our Lives California issues unwavering support for the graduate students on strike, and we call on all of our supporters, local chapters, as well as our sister chapters in other states to support this movement in the ways that they can, whether that be through donations, contacting representatives, showing up at the picket line, or by asking their faculty to boycott UCSC until a COLA has been granted.
This post reflects the views of the March For Our Lives California State Board.