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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: California | Santa Cruz Indymedia | Education & Student Activism | Labor & Workers | Police State and Prisons
Resolution in Support of UAW Strikers and Student Protest Climate at UC
University of California Student Association had a meeting and passed a resolution in support of student activists at UC Santa Cruz.
WHEREAS from April 2-3, UAW 2865, the UC Student-Workers Union, called for a peaceful, legal strike in protest of management’s unlawful intimidation of student-workers; and
WHEREAS on April 2 at UCSC, during the start of the picket line, police responded by intimidating and arresting students who were exercising their rights. Members and undergraduate allies were arrested without reason, and with unnecessary force, while trying to exercise their right to a moving picket; and
WHEREAS on April 3 at UCSC and across the state, the UC police continued to intimidate and arrest peaceful students participating in a legal strike; and
WHEREAS the UCSC administration strategically chose to escalate a peaceful, lawful picket by importing riot police from UC Berkeley prior to the demonstrations. The Berkeley police have a history of physically assaulting both students and faculty at peaceful demonstrations. Wearing riot helmets and batons, and resting their hands on their weapons, police used conflicting messages to create confusion about what demonstrators could do to avoid arrest; and
WHEREAS the UCSC administration deprived UAW members of their legal right to picket; and
WHEREAS graduate and undergraduate students were held for 10 hours on April 2 in County Jail and are now entangled in the legal system; and
WHEREAS media distortions were spread by officials, including the posting of names and mugshots of arrested students. UCSC Spokesperson Jim Burns specifically made false claims that UAW graduate students were the primary people arrested, that a young woman incited violence by hitting an officer in the head, and that a student pretended to be shot with a taser; and
WHEREAS from threats to international student’s visa status who participate in union activity, to unlawful videoing, and calling legal strikes illegal, the UC has proved time and time again that it will say anything to prevent student-workers from exercising their rights; therefore
BE IT RESOLVED that UCSA reaffirms it’s support for UAW 2865 and other labor Unions, and the work they do to represent workers;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that UCSA condemns the use of police violence and intimidation against peaceful protests;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that UCSA leadership will demand a meeting with Jim Burns, UC Spokesperson, to discuss the lies he spread in the media and to form a policy in the future to prevent abuses such as these;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that UCSA representatives and leadership will put pressure on Administration to immediately drop all charges against the UCSC students. Administrators to target should include Alison Galloway, UCSC EVC and Provost, George Blumenthal, UCSC Chancellor, Nader Oweis, UCSC Chief of Police, and Janet Napolitano, UC President;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that UCSA leadership will demand a meeting with Janet Napolitano to review the police response to the UAW 2865 strike within the context of the recommendations from the Edley/Robinson Report, and demand that these recommendations be met and future police activity be used to protect peaceful protest,
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, UCSA believes that UCSC officials involved should be held accountable for the escalation of the situation.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, UCSA believes the UCSC administration be reprimanded for its failure to resolve the situation peacefully and engaging in the tactics of hard line and intimidation.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, UCSA calls on President Napolitano to develop a system-wide policy of handling student protests in UC setting the commitment to compromise, a peaceful dialogue and the absence of physical confrontation as the main priorities.
Dear President Napolitano:
First, UC Student Association is dismayed and deeply disturbed at the events that occurred on the UCSC campus on April 2-3, 2013, especially the arrest of 22 students participating in a peaceful and lawful protest against unfair labor practices across the UC system as UCSC administrators were standing by choosing not prevent the arrests. One of the arrested students is the leader of the UCSC chapter of UAW 2865 union, the UC Student-Workers Union who has worked closely with our organization. UCSA is supportive of labor movement and of students involved in peaceful, non-violent protests. We are, therefore, determined to do whatever possible to support the students affected by the adverse actions of the UCSC administration. Most importantly, we demand that all charges against the arrested students be dropped — graduate students and undergraduate supporters are now entangled in the legal system for their attempts to engage in a legal right to picket.
Second, We find it unacceptable that the UCSC administration strategically chose to escalate peaceful, lawful pickets by importing riot police from UC Berkeley prior to the beginning of the demonstrations. The UC Berkeley riot police have a history of physical assault of both students and faculty at peaceful demonstrations. Wearing riot helmets and batons, and resting their hands on their weapons, the police used conflicting messages to create confusion about what demonstrators could do to avoid arrest. This mixed messaging was clearly part of a tactic to stop legal, peaceful picket by instilling fear among demonstrators that they might be arrested at any time merely by being in the vicinity of the protest. On April 3, the police again used intimidation tactics and conflicting messages to create a pretext for arresting an undergraduate supporter who was trying to exercise her right to join the picket. UCSA finds that the actions of the UCSC administration have shown deliberate lack of transparency (such as the efforts to mask the videotaping of the strike to make it look like a media shoot) and goodwill. During the two days, UCSC administrators also engaged in biased communications to the student body directed against the protestors and seeking to ridicule their cause and efforts to reach justice. Overall, UCSA believes that UCSC officials involved should be held accountable for the escalation of the situation. We ask you, therefore, to reprimand the UCSC administration for its failure to resolve the situation peacefully and engaging in the tactics of hard line and intimidation.
Third, we urge you to take immediate action to avoid further escalation of the standoff and to dissipate the concerns of the increased militarization, and police brutality across the UC campuses. We are extremely concerned that on many UC campuses, police were intimidating students involved in a peaceful, legal labor strike. We call for the immediate end to police intimidation during peaceful, legal strike activities and urge you to consider the demands that the protestors stood for before the need for striking and physical confrontation arises. UCSA calls on you to develop a campus-wide policy of handling student protests in UC setting the commitment to compromise, a peaceful dialogue and the absence of physical confrontation as the main priorities.
The issues the protesters brought up (TA to student ratio standardization and TA wage increases) have been brought up to you on multiple occasions and received your initial support and commitment to further discussion and action. The inability to continue these conversations is a serious concern of ours and we urge you to mitigate it by taking action and engaging in a dialogue with the union leaders that would preclude the need for strike activity and physical confrontation. We call on you to start a dialogue with the union leaders to resolve their concerns, which are directly related to the quality of education at this institution and should be given your full attention.