By News Director
One of the largest strikes in Academic History, UCSC, alongside nine other UCs, is striking as of Monday, November 14th. Graduate students, postdoctoral students, and researchers are protesting for better working conditions. If the UC does not meet the demands by the end of the quarter, grades will be withheld.
After talking with a few graduate student instructors (GSI), I learned that, on average, they are paid about $24,000, and after taxes and university fees, it leaves students with $20,000. The UCSC Graduate Students Cost of Attendance website says that, on average, tuition and on and off-campus housing amounts to $45,000. The website has all costs broken down for people to view. During my interview, graduate students focused on the demands of Fair Compensation and Support for Working Parents.
“The learning conditions of the undergrads are the working conditions for us grad students.”
One student, who asked to remain anonymous, shared that she had been at UCSC since the Wildcat Strikes of 2019 and was shocked by the lack of surveillance and presence from the police. However, the current strike is sanctioned and has had an incredible outpour of votes to authorize the strike. She hopes that the sanction will protect students during this strike as she recalls the 2019 strike was an “abomination”; the UC was spending $300,000 a day for the police during the strike.
“The UC is running like a business and not like a public institution.”
A student who lives in Family Student Housing with their 20-month-old child and her partner tiredly expresses her frustration that there is no childcare on campus. Anywhere else, she pays $1300 for three days of childcare. Although the university has a reimbursement program, students only receive $700 per quarter. Even though there is now a daycare on campus, students
still had to organize together to have it reopened and extended to infants 11 months and younger, as of last year. For maternity leave, she explained that she was given six weeks and had to request when to start. At 39 weeks pregnant, she began maternity leave but did not go into labor until the 42nd week, meaning she had three weeks to recover.
“How can we be good teachers if we are sleeping in our car, skipping meals, taking care of children because child care is unaffordable.”
At noon, a group began marching down towards the picket line with their sign saying “Faculty in Solidarity” Steve McKay, a professor in the Sociology department, exclaimed his support for all the graduate students. With the support from the faculty, the rally soon began; indigenous dancers performed a prayer for the students before representatives from the union, faculty, and Santa Cruz Metro read their speeches. The speaker from the Santa Cruz Metro emphasized, “ we are here with you and for you,” reminding everyone that the metro buses will not cross the picket line in solidarity. The rally closed off with a parody version of the song Freed from Desire; a graduate student chanted throughout the song, “ Workers on strike, the UC is terrified,” in melody.
Dogs On Strike