Dear Graduate Students,
I am writing to inform you about your rights during the Nov. 9th and 16th Days of Action and to inform you of the purpose of these events. This email also provides information about additional ways in which you may get involved in defending public education in California. While the Graduate Assembly has endorsed peaceful demonstrations during the Days of Action, the intent of this email is to inform you of your rights and options.
Purpose of the Days of Action
In recent years, declining state revenues have been driving budget cuts to all levels of public education in California, as well as fee increases in colleges and universities. A statewide coalition of student and labor organizations, including the University of California Student Association (UCSA) and the UC GSI union (UAW2865), has launched the ReFund California campaign, with the goal of making Wall Street corporations and the very rich contribute more for essential services and public education. To achieve this goal, these groups support an income tax increase on the richest Californians and a reform of corporate property tax. The UC Regents are among the richest and most influential Californians, but their solution so far has been to raise tuition, which is hurting working class and middle-income families.
Schedule of the Days of Action
On November 9th, Berkeley students are planning a Day of Action asking students to walk out at 12 p.m. (noon) and rally on Sproul Plaza in support of the ReFund California campaign and in solidarity with the “the 99%” protests in Oakland. On the morning of November 16th, students will rally at the UC Regents meeting in San Francisco. Buses will leave from Berkeley between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. For more information on the Days of Action and to reserve your seat on the bus, visit: http://www.makebankspaycalifornia.com/november_9th_berkeley.
Note that the Graduate Assembly office (at Anthony Hall) has fliers for these events and postcards graduate students can sign to express support for this campaign.
Your Rights As Grad Students and Strategies for GSIs
As a GSI:
– You can hold classes outside on Wednesday in support. This is called a “teach-out”.
– You can also reschedule your class for another day/time.
– You can also walk your class over to the protest and engage in dialogue about the purpose of the protest.
– You may also cancel your class, but we encourage you to speak to the course’s faculty and fellow GSIs in your department to act in unified action. The GSI union has promised to defend their members’ rights to freedom of assembly.
As a graduate student:
– It is your right to participate in peaceful protest and free speech exercises on this campus.
– It is your right to express support or disagreement with the movements taking place on campus.
We encourage students to be mindful of the rights of their fellow students and other members of the university community during any protest event. We encourage students to consult the Student Code of Conduct and campus regulations governing protests prior to engaging in peaceful civil disobedience.
Additionally, if you have any questions or would like to speak to someone about your rights, please feel free to contact the GA President (email@example.com) or the GSI Union (firstname.lastname@example.org).
GA President, UC Berkeley