At 5pm, students, workers, and faculty began a study-in at Langson Library on the UC Irvine campus. Among the demands were longer library hours and increased transparency in the budget. While the library was scheduled to close at 5pm, the university administration quietly increased the hours to 11pm the day before. While the increase in hours is a victory in itself, the terms of the victory were dictated by administration, so students went ahead with their plans.
Police maintained a constant presence inside, with 3 police officers and a handful of student traitors CSOs patrolling the library the entire night. The Reserves/Loan desk by the 2nd floor entrance was staffed by the cops, who gave decent advice on books about constitutional law (just kidding!). Beginning with two spoken-word performances, including a moving poem about the plight of undocumented students, teach-ins covered the history of the Israel/Palestine conflict, meritocracy and the SATs, the DREAM Act, and the campaign to insource janitors (currently contracted by ABM). A General Assembly was held, and resulted in several concrete proposals for March 4 organizing, including a week-long People’s Park event in Aldrich Park on campus.
At 11:15pm, with about 10 police, a few library administration, and a handful of student traitors cops present, the study-in was evicted. Students decided to take the victory and live to fight another day. On the way out, students showed a police officer his photo on pg. 13 of After the Fall, and he and his buddies had a good laugh (even though the photo was right above an article titled “The Beatings Will Continue”). The police occupied Langson Library for a half hour. After they left, students held an impromptu dance party in the library plaza area in the rain.
If we can’t dance, this isn’t our revolution.
Below is a statement written by students, before the administration offered their unsolicited permission to stay inside.
Today, we are taking over Langson Library. We do this not as a protest, but as a solution to a number of issues resulting from our administration’s incompetence and malfeasance, centering around their belief that they can appropriate students’ fees and workers’ labor power for their own purposes, without consulting in any genuine way those people most affected.
- Mistreatment of janitors, groundskeepers, student workers, teaching assistants, office staff, and lecturers by cutting pay and benefits and demanding more work; this is done to free up more resources for construction projects and corporate and military research.
- Increase in student fees while slashing services and programs, particularly those services benefitting low-income and first-generation students and those programs best equipped to understand and counter oppression in society.
- Attempts by administration to delude and co-opt our student governments, newspapers, and student body as a whole. Since the cuts were announced, they have consistently lied to shift blame elsewhere while secretly cutting desirable programs for absolutely no economic gain. In the most extravagant show of the disingenuous nature of the administration, in order to subvert a similar library study-in last quarter, Manuel Gomez claimed credit for increasing library hours, only to revert the hours a week later. Even in their supposed benevolence, they still reaffirm their power to decide unilaterally how to use our money.
- Finally, our administration has refused to release budget documents for public scrutiny and audit and continue to conduct budget talks in secret. There is no legitimate reason for our money and the results of our labor to be allocated so clandestinely, without our knowledge, and without public oversight.
Our administration has operated for years with full impunity, with the complicity of ASUCI, AGS, and sectors of the faculty; thus, we expect no support from the administration for our objectives until the continuation of this system becomes politically untenable. This action is not the first taken by this movement, nor shall it be its culmination; we will continue to escalate in opposition to our administration until students and workers are given control over our university.
Students and Workers of UCI
We are not just calling for increased library hours, but for full transparency of UC budgets and the budgeting processes. We aren’t satisfied with token student representation in the budget junta, and thus we demand full student and worker control over the budget. Absolutely no budget decisions should be finalized for next Fall without ratification by the entire campus community.