Over the summer, the governing Board of the University of California tried to implement a number of changes aimed at harming the campus environment, including: a 32% tuition hike, layoffs of faculty and staff, and “furloughs” (i.e. salary cuts) for those who stay. In response, the students have organized to take back their university! More information is available at http://occupyca.wordpress.com.
We at Brandeis University stand in solidarity with the students, faculty, and staff of the University of California as they take sorely-needed action against a corrupt, anti-democratic regime. The actions of the UC governing board indicate that their concern is to auction off the public education system for private profit. Resistance is thus necessary, proper, and morally imperative. We must protect one of the few successful public higher education programs in the United States.
While Brandeis is not in the same dire straits as UCSC, there are some parallels which should concern us all. Under the cover of the economic crisis, our university administration and Board of Trustees (which includes no voting student, staff, or faculty members) has increased tuition, threatened several departments, and expanded enrollment to the point of overcrowding. While steadfastly claiming to champion the liberal arts, they have sought to shutter our prized art museum. They have added a pathetic Business major, with hopes of attracting a conservative clientele to be complacent students and wealthy alumni. An unwritten administrative policy of “delay and obscure” ensures that critical announcements and news trickles down to us through rumor and press release, confusing an already disempowered campus.
Considering our weak and divided state, the actions of the University of California community give us the assurance that action is still possible. We cheer you on as you end the occupation of the university by corporate interests and posturing politicians and bring about the occupation of the university by the people. Unified action to overthrow oppressive power structures must no longer be the exception, but our everyday struggle.
Out of the classrooms, into the streets!
Mad love and solidarity,
Brandeis Students for a Democratic Society