In response to Michael Gillooly’s editorial venting his frustration at the state of the UC, I would just like to say that you are not alone.
It is my last year at UC Santa Barbara and tuition has gone up about 45 percent since I first stepped foot on campus. Aside from “fee” increases, we have also seen our class sizes grow, played the class crashing game and watched the services we pay for with our lock-in fees get cut. Furthermore, workers have their times cut and workloads increased, and some of our own friends have dropped out of the University due to an inability to pay.
But we have not taken it lying down.
[media-credit name=”Phil Kiner” align=”alignleft” width=”250″][/media-credit]I’ve had the privilege of working with amazing students, union members, TAs and professors to counteract these attacks on our education. Together we have organized die-ins, fasts, critical bike masses, marches, rallies and many other actions that I will remember as a crucial part of my UC education. For example, any one of the hundreds of people from across the state who went to UCLA last November for the protest against the 32 percent fee increase can tell you about the electricity in the air, the desperation that we felt and the love and support we had for each other in the face of the largest single tuition increase in the history of the UC. And in the wake of that, people got angry and started — in the simplest, truest terms — fucking shit up. Buildings were occupied, freeways were taken over by protesters and cops were called out to repress crowds of people just trying to survive.
As Gillooly so eloquently stated, “The faraway, out-of-touch chambers of Sacramento could hear the rolling thunder of student protest.” But I don’t want to come off sounding like some old war hero telling stories of bygone glory days. I’m no hero, and the time for action hasn’t ended.
California is in the midst of great political change. With a critical election coming up it is important, now more than ever, to remind legislators to prioritize public education. In a show of worldwide solidarity, students, workers and faculty from across the globe will participate in actions on Oct. 7 to raise awareness about the immediate and long term effects of divestment from public education. We have all felt the effects of this divestment, and now it’s the time to do something about it.
There will be a rally at 12 p.m. at the Arbor, followed by a march to the SRB where there will be food, music and tables to register new voters and inform people about the implications of different propositions and measures toward public education. We call upon UCSB students, workers, staff members and faculty to join in solidarity to make education accessible to all Californians, not just those who can afford it. We’ve done it before and we can do it again.