The UC San Diego Department of Ethnic Studies endorses and will actively support the September 24th walkout of staff, faculty, and students across University of California campuses. Over the past two decades, the state of California has been a testing ground for national and global efforts to privatize public institutions and resources in ways that disproportionately affect the state’s most vulnerable populations.
In this context, the University of California’s recent actions—drastic fee hikes, unequal pay cuts for workers, and the reduction and/or elimination of crucial University services—cannot be excused as a singular response to a fiscal ‘state of emergency’ brought on by state budget cuts. Rather, the adoption of the Higher Education Compact must be understood as an extension of the logic through which elected and appointed officials make political decisions about which public resources “deserve” protection and which are expendable; which communities can be abandoned and which constituencies may carry on business as usual.
By instituting a pernicious combination of fee hikes and salary and financial aid reductions, state and University policymakers have effectively shifted the financial burden of public needs to private parties—UC students, workers, and their families. For many current and future students, particularly those from historically under-represented communities, this ‘compact’ has seriously endangered their already-limited access to a UC education.
For these reasons, we support the September 24th Day of Action, and urge our colleagues, students, and other San Diego community members to join us in demanding that the State Legislature, Board of Regents, and the University of California administration be held accountable for these regressive measures. We recognize that the very future of public education is at stake, and we call on all concerned to make every effort to ensure that all Californians are guaranteed access to their university.