The University of California system is one of the largest and most prestigious post-secondary educational institutions in the country. Its beginnings 170 years ago were as fraught as they were humble. The Morrill Act enabled the creation of land-grant colleges, which were resourced by the sale of federal lands. These lands were, in many cases, stewarded by tribes, and they ended up in the hands of the federal government sometimes by treaty and often through seizure. Although a critical driving force behind California’s continued economic and technological successes, UC has not been sufficiently accessible to the very people whose dispossession was core to its founding. In a monumental move, the State of California is looking to correct historical injustice and promote greater inclusiveness of Native Americans, a group that to this day encounters numerous systemic barriers to post-secondary education.
University of California
The United States of America is founded on the original sin of Native American genocide and the myth that the Indigenous Peoples that lived on these lands for thousands of years had no right to it. White settler colonialism is not just a stain on the country’s history, it is its very raison d’etre. To this day, all non-Native Americans live on stolen land. The prosperous, liberal state of California is not exempt from this original sin, nor has it made reparations for the devastation of Indigenous Peoples and their lands. In a recently reissued book, Tony Platt, the acclaimed author of 10 books and professor emeritus who taught at the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Chicago, and California State University, Sacramento, uncovers another more recent abhorrence committed against Native Californians by one of the state’s most revered institutions, the University of California, Berkeley.
The University of California has agreed to reinstate 41 UC Santa Cruz graduate student workers who were fired in March after waging a months-long ‘wildcat’ strike. The strike for a cost of living adjustment galvanized students at nearly every single campus in the UC’s 285,000-student system. Last week, following months of protests, campus negotiations, and outcry from elected officials, the University of California agreed to reinstate the 41 teaching assistants. The university also agreed to offer the 41 students, who had lost their teaching appointments, an additional quarter of funding and an employment guarantee for the upcoming academic year.
Starting at around 4:30 AM, barricades went up outside of the entrances to the University of California in Santa Cruz (UCSC), effectively shutting down the campus. Over the next 8 hours, thousands of students, faculty, and staff took part in mass rallies and marches across almost the entire UC system, as more campuses announced that they were also joining the wildcat strike which had begun in Santa Cruz in early February.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Thousands of custodians, security guards, gardeners and other service workers at University of California campuses started a three-day strike Monday to address pay inequalities and demand higher wages. Strikers gathered at sunrise on the 10 campuses throughout the state, wearing green T-shirts and carrying signs that call for “equality, fairness, respect.” The strike was called last week by American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3299, which represents 25,000 service workers, after the union and the university could not agree on a new contract and mediation efforts failed. Another 29,000 nurses, pharmacists, radiologists and other medical workers heeded the service workers’ call for a sympathy strike and will join the walkouts Tuesday and Wednesday, which is expected to disrupt thousands of surgeries and other appointments.
By Staff for Pacific Coast Business Times - After a four-day sit-in, UC Santa Barbara students won the endorsement of Chancellor Henry Yang on the divestiture of the University of California’s $2.8 billion in its endowment from fossil fuel companies. Margaret Klawunn, vice president of student affairs, delivered the statement May 11 on behalf of the chancellor at Cheadle Hall, where around 400 students, faculty and staff took part in the sit-in. “In the coming week, I look forward to working with my fellow chancellors in support of a thorough and transparent discussion on divestment from fossil fuels as part of the UC’s approach to combating the climate crisis,” Yang’s statement said. Investments should instead go toward more sustainable companies, said Cassie Macy, a spokeswoman for the student group Fossil Free UCSB that organized the protest. The first step is to get out of fossil fuels, Macy said, but “we’ve shown them that investments in sustainable companies have almost no difference in financial results. So we think that it’s very important that we invest in these companies that will better our future.” The effects of climate change affect marginalized communities most strongly, said fellow spokeswoman Celeste Argueta, including air quality and coastal erosion.
By Brentin Mock for City Lab - As the nation continues to process the deaths of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, it’s worth keeping in mind that the circumstances of those killings were not all the same. And demonstrators across the country aren’t only protesting police violence against black citizens. They’re also venting grievances about their own stifling living conditions, under which it’s often difficult to ride, walk, or even breathe without police suffocating black lives further.
By Sam Stanton And Diana Lambert for The Sacramento Bee - “Information has recently come to light that raises serious questions about whether Chancellor Katehi may have violated several University of California policies, including questions about the campus’s employment and compensation of some of the chancellor’s immediate family members, the veracity of the chancellor’s accounts of her involvement in contracts related to managing both the campus’s and her personal reputation on social media, and the potential improper use of student fees,” Napolitano’s office said in a statement issued Wednesday night.
By Sarah Parvini for Los Angeles Times - UC Davis is defending its decision to pay consultants at least $175,000 to clean up its online image after students and alumni were pepper sprayed by police in 2011. Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Glendale) called on UC Davis' chancellor to resign, citing the payment and other issues that have roiled the campus. UC Davis officials released a statement late Thursday saying, "Increased investment in social media and communications strategy has heightened the profile of the university to good effect."
By Sam Stanton And Diana Lambert for The Sacramento Bee - Following the 2011 pepper spraying of students, the campus hired consultants to improve the online reputations of UC Davis and Chancellor Linda Katehi. Sam Stanton The Sacramento Bee. UC Davis contracted with consultants for at least $175,000 to scrub the Internet of negative online postings following the November 2011 pepper-spraying of students and to improve the reputations of both the university and Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi, newly released documents show.
By Sydney Johnson for East Bay Express - The Associated Students of the University of California (ASUC) approved aresolution Wednesday night that recommends banning the University of California Police Department (UCPD) from taking part in highly militarized Urban Shield trainings. The resolution, which was passed unanimously by the ASUC Senate, called for the “cessation of UCPD participation in, and funding for participation in, Urban Shield competitions, vendor expos, and seminars.”
By Matt Coker for OC Weekly - According to an online petition, the Black Student Union at UC Irvine is demanding the abolition of the campus police department, calling contemporary police forces “modern incarnations of the antebellum plantation and slave patrols." The demand made via Change.org to UCI Chancellor Howard Gillman and the administrations of UCI and the University of California states, “The problem is that policing as an institution is unethical; it accompanies anti-Black violence.” There were 240 signatures as of Wednesday afternoon toward a goal of only 500.
By Sam Cholke in DNA Info - The University of Chicago has permanently banned from campus eight trauma protesters who barricaded themselves in a university building in June. The eight non-student protesters who participated in a protest on June 3 that ended in firefighters breaking down a wall and sawing through a door to remove them said they have all been permanently banned from the university campus. A ninth protester who was a student has not been banned. “It turns out every moment on campus into an act of civil disobedience,” said Alex Goldenberg, one of the eight arrested and an alumni of the university. “I don’t think it will stop any of us though.” Jeremy Manier, a university spokesman, said the protesters risked the safety of people of campus in their efforts to advocate for a trauma center at the university’s hospital, so the university is justified in the ban.