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Monday, November 9, 2009

Monday, November 9, 2009

News from UC Riverside

From Pat Morton, Professor of Art History, UCR

There are a number of activist groups working at UCR right now, including UCR Mobilize, Social Justice Alliance, and Concerned Faculty of UCR.  They emerged out of the September 24 Walkout and Teach-In, which attracted about 1000 people over the course of the 5 hour program.  (Chancellor White even came to the Teach-In and spoke supportively.)

UCR Mobilize is a small but very active coalition of students, faculty and staff that's been doing actions since the September 24 Walkout.  We meet weekly on Wednesdays and coordinate between faculty, student groups and unions.  The unions are already organized and have been fighting this fight for a long time.

For a few weeks after the Walkout, the students carried most of the momentum and started an education campaign of flyers, events and coalition building.  They've coalesced as the Social Justice Alliance, which coordinates with other activist groups on campus.  They are highly motivated by the fee increases, and plan a big presence at the November Regents' meeting, but they're in it for the long haul.  They've had three actions at the Bell Tower in the center of campus, including a Death of Public Education event on October 28 that featured a "Die-In" and rousing speeches from student activists.  There are many other student groups responding to the crisis (Students Against Sweatshops, Chicano Student Programs, MeCHA, UCSA, CCSA, Common Ground Alliance, etc.)

Concerned Faculty of UCR has been reactivated recently (it was originally formed to support labor actions at UCR). Last week, Chris Chase-Dunn, Karthick Ramakrisnan and I called a meeting about the Gould Commission of the Future visit to UCR, and 40-50 faculty attended.  We've been able to get the head of the Academic Senate to attend our meetings and join efforts to reach faculty. The next meeting is Friday, November 13.

At the November 3 Gould Commission "listening session,"  faculty from Concerned Faculty questioned the credibility of the Commission and the market thinking of its charge, and raised issues about access and the impact of privatization on our students.  Outside the pointed criticisms of the Commission, speakers affirmed UCR as a model for the entire UC, a campus that reflects California and produces "excellence" with diversity. 

Upcoming Events:

On Monday, November 16, UCR Mobilize plans two Teach-Ins (12 pm and 6 pm) to educate the UCR community about the crisis, its effects, and resistance, and mobilize for the November 17-19 Regents' meeting at UCLA.  Faculty, staff, and students will speak.

A large contingent of UCR students, union members and faculty will participate in the actions on Nov. 18-19 at the UCLA Regents meeting.

We're planning a series of events for the winter, leading up to the system-wide Day of Action on March 4 (Sacramento) and the Regents' meeting at UCR on March 17-19.

We're building alliances with CSU and CC campuses in the area, and I think there will be some joint actions.

The students have a web site and we have the beginnings of a web site for UCR Mobilize


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