As students, workers, and community members we came together in solidarity today to protect the beating heart of public education. We rallied for quality, accessibility, accountability in learning and working conditions. Despite our efforts, the UC Regents approved a tuition increase plan 7 to 2 despite large on-site student protests, including at least one arrest, and opposition by Governor Jerry Brown. Undeterred, we stand with movements around the world that are fighting to protect the commons from privatization and militarization.
The police presence at UCSF Mission Bay is a reminder of the ways police are consistently used to intimidate those who use their education to fight for social justice and equity. In previous years, UC police have pulled guns on students, beaten and dragged students, pepper sprayed students who were expressing demands for a public institution. UC Administrators have stood by or colluded in these actions.
From the struggle of the 43 disappeared students in Ayotzinapa, Mexico to the uprisings against police brutality in Ferguson to today’s student protests against austerity in London, we recognize that we are experiencing is part of a global struggle that is now uniting in solidarity.
We recognize the struggles in Guerrero, Missouri, and London as not just problems in those individual communities but as a menace for all who face police and institutional repression. The UCs have a rich tradition of free speech protest and we draw upon that, just as we now draw inspiration from the movements around the world who wrestle a bold new future from the hands of privatization and militarization.
Students at UC Berkeley are currently holding Wheeler Hall as an Open University, in the spirit of democratizing education, and maintaining the right to public education and an intellectual commons.