First off, I’m very appreciative of Will and CHP for their interest and support of the hunger strike to end UC management of nuclear weapons labs. After the 10 days leading up to the UC Regent’s Meeting in San Francisco, many more people are aware of the very real and deadly effects of the UC managed weapons labs and are having the crucial dialogue about what can be done to end this destructive endeavor. This, in part, is due to the positive media coverage we have received.

I feel, however, that the article published in last week’s CHP edition can potentially be very misleading. In the article, two Hunger Strikers, Janine Carmona and I, are portrayed in ways that are not representative of our actual roles in the Hunger Strike. The strike’s emergence was due to the work of literally hundreds of people in the weeks leading up to May 9. At UCSC alone, there were more than 20 people, not striking, who made everything possible by planning, talking to media, coordinating rides, tabling, flyering, meeting the strikers’ personal needs, and reminding us all of the seriousness of the UC’s involvement in systems that perpetuate war and oppression to guarantee power for those who already have it. The strike didn’t contain any designated “leaders”; rather every person involved took on a leadership role.

My fear is that people reading the article will infer that the Hunger Strike is an isolated incident brought about by a few determined students. The reality is that thousands of UC students, faculty, staff, California residents, NGOs and entire Nations are demanding the University of California stops providing “academic” legitimacy to the nuclear weapons industry.

With peace,<br/>Mark Valen