Tomorrow, for the second time this semester, staff, faculty and students at the University of California campuses will go on strike for 3-days. The first strike, a one-day strike on September 24, which I attended, saw an estimated 5,000 workers, students and faculty jammed into UC Berkeley’s Sproul Plaza. That strike and demonstration was, by most accounts, the largest gathering at Sproul since the late 1960′s – early 1970′s. Other campuses through out California also had to deal with students, faculty and workers dismayed with the direction the Universities Board of Regents has chosen. BTW, this week, the UC Board of Regents will meet and vote on a proposed 32% tuition increase (averaged) and on further increases in tuition for students enrolled in “desirable” and potentially profitable professional fields (medicine, law and business for examples).
The concept behind public education in the United States used to be that it was for the public good. It would seem that the role of institutions of higher eduction now are to produce bean counters and “yes men” to service the needs of our corporate elites. I can’t wait to see how this weeks UC strike plays out in the corporate press – if the corporate reporters cover the strike and their editors allow publication, what details will they reveal? I think what they say will speak volumes about who thinks “they” are in charge. I think we are entering a new age of class warfare – it will be interesting to see how this clash between the elites and the people plays out (ie which group, the corporate elites, or the public is left gasping for their last breath?)
for a quick rundown see or listen to yesterdays edition of DEMOCRACY NOW
UPDATE (091118 00:18h): Other links of interest related to The Strike:
Coalition of University Employee (CUE)
Update 091118: I was thinking about something my father used to talk about before I reached my teens, “a society shows what it values most by the wages it pays.” A WWII veteran from a family that just made it through the depression he used his GI Bill benefits to earn a PhD. When he declared his belief a union truck driver was, on average, making about $10,000 a year more than he was. After spending nearly a decade learning, studying and earning his PhD. he was teaching nursing students and future physicians about the structure of the human body and the intricacies of our bodies physiology and neural systems, he was also educating future scientists and interested students (citizens) about the subtle relationships that exist between fresh water fishes and their environment. The list of folks that make scads more money than the people we entrust with our intellectual and creative futures is an insult to logic – I’ll leave it to you to do the calculations.
LA Times (OpEd): “Is a $26,000 UC education still a deal?”
San Francisco Chronicle: “Regents committee recommends UC fee hikes.”
Mercury News: “UC regents recommend 32 percent fee hike.”
Mercury News: “UC regents show support for Yudof; demonstrators arrested.”