Nov. 15-17 the UC Board of Regents will hold a meeting to discuss the financial future of the UC system. The Occupy Education event will be held on Nov. 16 at UCSF Mission Bay, the same location as the regents’ meeting.
Protests at regents’ meetings have become common-place. Over the years, as multiple fee increases have been approved, it has become difficult for UC students to feel heard and not despair that they are members of a dying system. Just last year, the regents voted on an 8 percent increase in student fees, and this coming meeting will likely see even higher fees.
But this time around, we are presented with an opportunity. We are presented with the support of Occupy entities of local Bay Area colleges, Occupy Education and the Occupy movement as a whole. And their numbers are large.
We are presented with the opportunity to turn out in droves and bring the kind of state and national media coverage this issue deserves. With increased media coverage comes increased attention from California state voters who, at the end of the day, have massive amounts of control over the UC budget based on what legislators they vote for.
We should look to UC Berkeley, where protesters plan to hold a two-day event on Nov. 9–10. The protest will raise awareness of potential fee hikes, which will be determined during the regents’ November meeting.
According to the Occupy Education website: “We call on all the 99 percent, on all the Occupy general assemblies and camps throughout Northern California, on all student, labor, and community organizations, to come together in a massive display of non-violent civil disobedience to prevent the UC regents meeting from taking place, to send the strongest message that we will not accept any fee hikes, cuts, or concessions in any level of public education.”
By virtue of being UC students, we are 100 percent part of the 99 percent, and we should be mobilizing 100 percent for the change we need to take place.
Third and fourth-year students who sigh under their breath, “Thank god I’m getting out” and look the other way, this applies to you. You may be getting out of the UC system, but you are only getting into the poor job market.
First-year students, do not be defeated into thinking this is the way it must be — just because you don’t know anything else does not mean you cannot demand better.
We need to be our own advocates. We need to show up and speak up, and this is a grand opportunity.
So carpool, public transit, Zipcar — San Francisco isn’t that far away. On Nov. 16, meet up at 7 a.m. at the UCSF Mission Bay campus, 1675 Owens St., San Francisco, Calif. and Occupy the future of the UC.