UCSC Graduate students and allies respond to being fired

UCSC Graduate students and allies respond to being fired

March 13, 2020 10 By Stanley Isaacs


seeing what this movement has become
it’s really about equal access to higher education it’s about equal access to the
vocation of research and teaching both entrances are closed avoid the area so
now he’s gotta maintain this year we’ve seen an uprising here at a UC Santa Cruz
undergrads graduate students and faculty come together for this cost-of-living
adjustment that people are fighting for but we’ve also demanded more than more
than a cola how would you life be different if you had a cola people said
I don’t need to think twice before I run a heater I don’t need to think about how
I’m gonna feed my child and I can actually focus on my research the
university is not paying graduate student workers enough to live where
they work and we didn’t even better would you man to be fairly compensated
for our labor did you you know that’s something that I that I want to live for
I mean my problem is I can’t really live here and do it the idea that somebody
might be paid fairly for their labor is not a radical claim yet the people that
are articulating this claim like myself being threatened and potentially will be
deported to this country I think what we’ve really seen is it’s a systemic
problem and it’s not only here at Santa Cruz it’s you see white people outraged
and they’re quite disgusted and met for the first time they’ve had a forum in
which to express that I believe so deeply in equal access to the
that I and many others of course we’re willing to be fired today which has just
happened one of my TAS for my current course has been fired she’s seven and a
half months pregnant I have another TA from last quarter who’s international in
her her visa residency status is threatened beyond those material
concrete things that everyone will lose you know a salary healthy sure and some
food house I think what is really what is at stake is losing hope and that’s
what I’m not willing to lose you know throughout this entire process
we’ve been trying to meet with them in response to a threatening of a mass
firing of hundreds of graduate students who are simply asking for a living wage
we felt like we had no other option but to respond collectively and decisively
and at that point that meant going on a full teaching strike this has led to her
originally colleague the strike illegal which is obviously false which they
obviously realize because the next time they send out an email they called it
unsanctioned that is true the wildcat strike is a strike that union members in
contract undertake that is unsanctioned by union leadership more than 83% of
voting graduate students on this campus rejected that contract from summer of
2018 the point of the wild card is literally that you’re escaping from the
range of action that the system gave you so the minute you scape that you can
make our timelines possible you know the university is actually
making good on their promise to retaliate against us so now we just have
to make good on our promises to retaliate back I think it’s been really
exciting to see faculty and staff and undergrads join us at the picket line
and it’s also just like been so wonderful to hear from undergrads who I
have actually taught in the past come out and join me on the picket line this
show of support here brought us all together outside of the seminar and into
the street so to speak some of them are my students I’m very happy to have them
as students and I think they look at as graduate students striking as a model
for the kind of university and the kind of the world that they want to live in there is a group that is called People’s
coalition who came up with a list of their own demands that include a cola
for graduate students but also include divestment from 30 meter telescope on
Mauna Kea that includes the administration meeting the demands of
undocumented students that includes getting police off campus that includes
free housing and free tuition for all students we’ve seen
yeah these undergrads really kind of just say we’re here to support our grad
students and we demand more from the University I think the key catalyst moment was when
they started taking over dining halls the administration was trying to split
undergrads and grad students apart and the graduate students responded by
saying not live we’re gonna take care of undergrads because y’all don’t take care
of when your beds and undergrads know that I love your graduate students but
y’all would not have been able to shut shit down if it wasn’t for undergrad if there’s any place in the world that
should be accessible to all people from all identity categories and all
socio-economic statuses it should be a public university right the UC system
has shown that they do not care that the only people who can come to the
University are those from privileged backgrounds those with parental support
those who are not first-generation and who therefore have a leg up already you
see you see you can’t hide this tracks going you see why so what we hope to see
is a collective action that we’re taking across the state pushing back against
austerity measures imposed on education by the region’s by the state what we’re
hoping to see is the strike actually changing the structure of the university
and giving equal access to higher education to everyone the concerns I’m
hearing on this campus about how this action might impair all the humanities
by imperiled Social Sciences might imperil the arts I find to be really
mistaken I think we’re giving us a chance to fight for the future of those
things if we want to fight that way we have to create the conditions in which
that can become a struggle jada jada take a hike now’s the time for
the general strike this thing is not gonna go away no matter how many
students you trying to pull no matter what threats no matter what bribes no
matter what anything the administration tries to send to us and on our way the
strike is rioting you can’t stop an idea you