Irvine, CA – Beginning at 9:30am Feb. 24, around 20 students at UC Irvine are holding a sit-in at the UCI administration building, Aldrich Hall, regarding budget cuts.
9:45am: Rally outside, 50 students and workers. ”Si se puede!” “They say cutback, we say fight back!”
About 8-10 cops inside, some plainclothes. One cop followed students inside and locked Chancellor’s door.
10:30am: Nothing new on the ground to report. List of demands available here:
We call for the democratic education intended in the founding of the UC system. This means an end to the racist, gendered, hetero-normative, and exploitative practices currently in place. To these ends, we have expropriated Aldrich Hall. As part of the University of California, this building belongs to the students and workers. This is not an occupation, nor is it unlawful assembly or trespassing. It is only the increasing privatization of our system that makes this action appear otherwise. This action is the result of frustration with conventional avenues of participation. The crisis is too extreme for gradualism and the ideals of public education are slipping away; direct confrontation is needed.
To UCI Admin:
1) We demand that UCI administration implement a comprehensive financial aid system by fall 2010 that apportions grant aid (excluding loans from the equation) and on-campus housing based on family wealth rather than income. Financial aid must be designed to counteract the economic effects of structural and systemic racism in our society.
2) We demand the immediate direct hiring of all outsourced ABM workers and fair pay for all campus workers. Students and workers do not support discriminatory hiring practices that victimize immigrant, Latina/o working families.
3) We demand that Chancellor Drake publicly commit to seeking out private donations that will specifically fund financial aid to AB540 students or begin providing financial aid for AB540 students directly from his office’s discretionary funding. We want administration to publicly recognize that AB540 students do not share the same economic freedoms and securities as other populations.
4) We demand that UCI administration immediately disarm all police officers of Tasers. This action is supported by the December 2009 ruling of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The Taser has replaced the lash of the whip as a device in the service of state sanctioned anti-blackness, evidenced so blatantly at UCLA this past November, and UCI’s administration should lead in the banning of this device.
5) We demand that UCI immediately equip the campus with gender neutral bathrooms. Students and workers who do not fit the illusion of gender normativity suffer routine violence and intimidation. UC should not privilege heteronormativity over the interests of its LGBT community.
6) We demand the recall of the three groundskeepers that were laidoff in October 2009 and the reinstatement of the 5% time reduction of the entire campus of AFSCME 3299 service unit.
7) We demand that no disciplinary action (academic or legal) be taken against the 11 students arrested at Ambassador Oren’s event. UCI and the surrounding community’s repeated attacks against, and hyper-surveillance of, Muslim and Arab students aids in branding legitimate political criticisms against the apartheid state of Israel as ‘uncivil’ and fosters a segregated cultural, social, and intellectual climate for the university. Deploying rhetoric that equates anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism serves to annihilate rather than engage in dialogue.
8. We demand 100% funding from administration for a recruitment and retention center for underrepresented students. Recruiting and retaining students of color and low-income students should be a campus priority, but UCI has neglected to support these important efforts.
9) We demand that until state-funding has been restored to the UC system in full, that all budget cuts imposed in the fall be redistributed by imposing an equal percentage cut to each of UCI’s schools.
10) We demand that UCI administration immediately reinvest in the ethnic, queer, and women’s studies departments/programs. UCI should foster an environment that is supportive of students who are considered outside of the “mythical norms” of our society. As evidenced so blatantly at UCSD this past week, Black subjects are in an antagonistic position against the institution, this sentiment is reinforced by administration and creates a safe space for anti-blackness. UCI administration should lead in creating a campus that engages in academic, political, and social reeducation which challenges structural and individual racism, sexism, heterosexism, and homophobia.
11) We demand that Chancellor Drake publicly disclose all of UCI’s military and private security contracts. Furthermore, we demand that Chancellor Drake shut down the Center for Unconventional Security Affairs and discontinue all military and Homeland Security contracts that aid in both the mass murder of people around the world by U.S. imperialism (particularly in Afghanistan, Iraq, Gaza, and Pakistan) or the violent police repression of students and workers within the U.S. In solidarity with workers and students around the world, we demand an end to genocidal imperialist wars for profit and empire: U.S. imperialism out of Iraq and Afghanistan!
12) We demand that UCI not feed the prison-industrial complex. We demand that UCI end its contract with Motorola by fall 2010. Furthermore, we demand the removal of all Dell, IBM, and Texas Instrument products by fall 2010 as well.
To the UC Regents:
1. We demand amnesty for all previous and current participants in protest on UC campuses. The Regents must restore all penalized students to good academic standing, recall all fired workers, and issue a public statement demanding that any and all criminal charges be dropped.
2. We demand the UC Regents and the Office of the President terminate ALL military and private security contracts currently in place at UC campuses and research facilities. In solidarity with workers and students around the world, we demand an end to genocidal imperialist wars for profit and empire: U.S. imperialism out of Iraq and Afghanistan!
3. We demand that the Regents revisit the November 2009 decision to increase student fees by 32% and address student and faculty objections to this decision. We demand that this public discussion of the 32% fee increase include three agenda items:
(a) A period for public comment;
(b) A vote, in full view of the public, reconsidering the 32% fee increase;
(c) A vote, in full view of the public, to ban all outsourcing of workers.
11:25am: Sources say that people outside the building are barricading the doors to Aldrich Hall in an attempt to circumvent the police from arresting and moving the students sitting-in the building!
11:45am: Sources state that a, “giant cage is being built around Aldrich Hall.” and that, “things are heating up.” Photos to come! Police, administrators, and sit-in participants are barricaded inside Aldrich Hall.
12:05pm: “Battle of UC Irvine.” Around 20 police officers have come to take down the outside barricades. Students are just as quickly rebuilding them.
taken around 12:10pm, feb 24, 2010
12:26pm: Students are now barricading Pereira Drive.
12:40pm: Both human and physical barricades on the roads surrounding Aldrich Hall. The sit-in protesters are still inside Aldrich Hall.
1:00pm: Students still blockading Pereira. Police have given a warning to clear.
1:35pm: The protesters involved in the sit-in are now being cited and released one by one. So far two students have been released!
1:40pm: Protesters charged with “failure to disperse.”
1:50pm: 4 Protesters have now been released. A crowd has formed outside the door chanting, “Holla back, I got your back!” Barricades now being removed.
2:20pm: All but 5 have been released, charged with “failure to disperse.” Those still inside include 2 graduate students and three AFSCME 3299 staff. Crowd of 50 waiting outside.
2:40pm: The sit-in has ended.
UCI has spoken! This is just warm-up, we begin next week!