April 30 Events

On April 30, UC-AFT organized events at every campus to draw attention to the fact that undergraduate education at UC is under fire. It is a short-sighted “solution” to budget shortfalls to fail to provide adequate resources to the libraries and to UC lecturers, especially when the University’s own audited financial statements show that it has over 5 billion dollars in unrestricted net assets.  This posting spotlights some of these actions.

This was the scene at UC Santa Cruz last Thursday, where over 350 turned out to a UC-AFT sponsored event to protest UC’s apparent budget priorities– and protect undergraduate education. Unit 17 Chief Negotiator Mike Rotkin was the emcee of the event. As if to prove the point of the rally, Mike received a layoff notice the next day from his job as coordinator of field studies for the Community Studies major at UCSC — in this position, Mike works with dozens of UCSC undergraduates each year as they complete the field work component of their academic program. Other long-time lecturers who have anchored critical undergraduate programs are facing similar threats. Mike and his Santa Cruz colleagues and students now are engaged in a fight to save the Community Studies major, a signature program of the UCSC campus, and are otherwise mobilizing to protect the instructional program for undergraduates. For more information, see their Facebook page: “Coalition to Save Community Studies.”

Librarian Ken Lyons, a member of the Negotiating Team, spoke to the UCSC crowd about the Unit 17 salary fight.
Students and other supporters are fighting the UCSC cuts and systematic under-funding of library services by uniting behind this slogan: “Chop from the Top.”  A new haircut apparently is soon to appear on campus to dramatize this theme.

Meanwhile, UC-AFT lecturers and librarians held a similarly-themed rally at UCLA. The previous weekend, UCLA librarians had collected hundreds of signatures on our salary petition at the LA Times Festival of Books — and were a highly visible presence to the thousands of community members who came to this campus event. On April 30, a substantial group came together on the steps of Powell Library to call upon the University to gives students — and those who educate them — their due. Among others, Communications and African Studies lecturer Paul Von Blum and UC-AFT President Bob Samuels (a Writing Program lecturer at UCLA) spoke to the crowd.

Finally, “Hug the Library” events happened at UCSB and at UCR. Here, supporters came together and formed a human chain around the campus central libraries.

To get a sense of the impressive energy, size, and enthusiasm of the UCR event, please check out UC-AFT’s first-ever appearance on YouTube:

Go to UCR “Hug the Library” Video

Thanks to everyone who worked to organize these events and to everyone who came out to show their support.

Karen Sawislak
UC-AFT Executive Director

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