Jack Gerson and other reporters (as indicated) – September 25, 2009
Well over 5,000 students, staff and faculty packed the University of California Berkeley’s Sproul Plaza on September 24, 2009, to protest sweeping layoffs, deep cuts to academic and research programs, steep tuition hikes, and the privatization of public education in California.
More than 5,000 students, teachers and other staff protested against cuts in higher education and privatization at the University of California’s Berkeley campus on September 24, 2009. Above, some of the crowd at Sproul Plaza, Berkeley, during the day of protests. Substance photo by Jack Gerson.On this, the first day of fall semester classes, over a thousand faculty members and more than 1,100 graduate teaching assistants staged a walkout, coinciding with a one-day strike by University Professional and Technical workers.
Reports compiled by Chicago’s Labor Beat (see button on the right for their Home Page):
Date: Fri, 25 Sep 2009 06:51:58 -0700
Subject: Reports from around California (and the world) – The UC Walkout
On Thursday, September 24, 2009, protests shook all 10 campuses of the University of California. Prompted by a walk-out letter signed by over 1,200 faculty, and a strike by 12,000 union researchers, students and labor allies organized a massive day of action to re-prioritize the budget of the UC system and push back against privatization. UC Berkeley, in particular, saw thousands attend rallies and marches reminiscent of previous generations, while activists at 3 other UCs occupied campus buildings (one of which is still ongoing). Politicians all over the state were forced to respond, with UC admins blaming state legislators and vis-versa. Schwarzenegger dismissed the protesters as a “screaming special interest group,” while Gavin Newsom insinuated his support of the walkout, injecting the UC crisis into the 2010 Governor’s race. Seeing how this was the very first day of class for most UCs, it looks to be a very long school year.. especially if you’re on the wrong side of the bullhorn.
Here’s a collection up of some of the reports from today. There’s many more – please feel free to comment.
background info: http://labornotes.org/node/2459
* Huge rally. Police estimate 5,000. March through streets of Berkeley, sit-down civil disobedience in front of campus, shutting down three main streets.
* All day picketing
* Over a half-dozen teach-ins (see titles: http://www.saveuc.org/teachout-sched.pdf)
* All day picketing
* Teamsters electricians and others honored the strike and went home
* Rally/March with estimates from several hundred to over a thousand + bikes w/ sound systems
* Brief occupation of admin building
* Faculty-Student Improv Show
* Rally (w/ estimates between 500 and 1000) outside admin building
UC LOS ANGELES
* Noon Rally (LA Times estimate 700 people)
* March to Chancellor’s office
* Occupation of Chancellor’s office results in forcing Chancellor to set a meeting.
UC SANTA CRUZ
* City buses (UTU), UPS (Teamsters) and construction crews refused to cross picket lines.
* All Day Picketing
* Noon Rally with 300+ people
* 3:30pm second rally and march
UC SAN DIEGO
* All day picketing, joined by UNITE-HERE Local 30 members who’ve been boycotting the Manchester Grand Hyatt over similar issues.
* Rally w/ about 350 attendees
UC SAN FRANCISCO
* All day picketing
* Rally w/ about ~75 people
UC SANTA BARBARA
Rally with ~400 people
Rally (w/ widely ranging estimates – from 150 to 500 to 1000) followed by a teach-in.
A small rally, but notable since Merced is the newest and smallest UC!
LAWRENCE BERKELEY NATIONAL LAB (UC-managed)
UC Education abroad students assembled and took a group picture.
“The words we are holding up say, “Protect the UC, prevent fee increases” in traditional Chinese characters. We took the picture at the front gate of National Taiwan University, where we are all studying and have students from all the UC campuses except for San Francisco and Merced (we even have a student from CSU East Bay and a student from SF State).”
UNIV. of ARIZONA:
Rally w/ ~100 people against cuts and costs in the UA system, staged on 9/24 in solidarity w/ UC.
~75 students held a rally against cuts, costs, and the elimination of hundreds of classes in the Cal State system, and in solidarity w/ UC.
SF City College:
Rally against budget cuts and in solidarity with other educational institutions.
UNIV. of MICHIGAN:
Members of Michigan GEO, AFT Local #3550 took a group picture, with signs in solidarity.
QUOTES OF THE DAY:
“Walkout, Rally Hailed as Rebirth of UC Activism” (as if it ever died – Front Page story from the Berkeley Daily Planet)
“I’ve been here since 1972, and I’ve never seen anything like it.” – George Lakoff
“For most of UC, today was THE FIRST DAY OF CLASSES, so there was essentially no time to organize. That makes #UCwalkout even more amazing.” – @studentactivism
“Faculty, students and unions from the University of California’s 10 campuses including its two most prestigious, UCLA and Berkeley, joined forces in what was the biggest student protest for more than a generation… The scale of the protests has come as a shock to state authorities.” – The Guardian (UK)
“being president of the University of California is like being manager of a cemetery” – UC President Mark Yudof. (The whole interview is shockingly appalling.) See: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/27/magazine/27fob-q4-t.html?_r=1