To: UCI Grad Students, Instructors, Lecturers, and Faculty
After Fall and Winter quarters of successful political organizing and action, students are anxious to learn the history behind the current crisis in UC priorities represented most starkly by the 32% fee hikes imposed on students. Faculty members have also expressed a desire to support the organizing efforts of students and workers. In response to these two needs, Defend UCI in solidarity with student groups organizing for fair labor practices and against the defunding of public education in California ask all UC-Irvine faculty, lecturers, and graduate student instructors to devote the first twenty minutes of the spring quarter to educating themselves and their students about the history of the privatization of the public education in California.
Toward this end, we recommend the following resource to aid teachers and students in this effort: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aR4xYBGdQgw [below]. This presentation by UC-Berkeley Professor of Political Science Wendy Brown, traces the history of the current crisis in UC public funding and in-house priorities to the campaign against equitable distribution of public funds to primary and secondary schools, a campaign that led to the passing of Prop 13 in 1978. Second, Professor Brown outlines the relationship between the resultant influx of private funds into UC and the decrease in quality of basic education across UC. Math majors and Humanities majors alike report feeling the effects of this fiscal reordering that has led to the cutting of lower division classes and other educational resources. Defend UCI calls on their teachers to provide students with this resource that explains the specific political choices that have culminated in our current political problem. It is our hope that all instructors in all departments will screen this presentation for students, providing them with a basis to discuss this issue and seek further information on their own.
By signing below, we pledge our support for the “Give Us The First Twenty” educational project and commit the first twenty minutes of our Spring quarter classes to informing UCI students about the defunding and crisis of public education in California.