Sobering Report on KQED June 12, 2012Posted by davidmwittman in access to education, students, university.
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I heard this driving home Friday night: a radio report about how some good California high school seniors are reluctant to consider UC because they know cuts will continue and quality will continue to decline. This was truly disheartening to hear. We need to restore education as a public good. California Sales and Income Tax Increase Initiative which will probably be on the ballot this November is a good place to start. It funds K12, and to a lesser extent community colleges, rather than UC, but it represents a step in the right direction.
Davis Dozen update June 3, 2012Posted by Julie Sze in protests, students.
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the end of the quarter is coming fast, and then the summer lull will likely take its toll in terms of media and broad interest in campus politics. But, the Davis Dozen case certainly continues. Read this on yesterday’s court appearance
Davis Dozen update May 14, 2012Posted by Julie Sze in protests, students, university.
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update: new court date in June (As someone who studies social movements, the delay tactics here are fairly familiar. constant delays make it hard for everyone, even passive supporters, to keep track of what is happening, especially as the end of the quarter approaches).
here’s the update on the UCD countersuit against US Bank for Breach of Contract
May Day Warnings from UC Office of the President May 1, 2012Posted by Julie Sze in students, university.
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Advice: Confirm business appointments for May 1st. Allow additional time for ground transportation near protest sites. Avoid all demonstrations as a precaution.
Activist groups, including Occupy Wall Street, to protest May 1 across the U.S. Traffic disruptions, scuffles with police possible. Avoid all protests.
Davis Dozen April 27, 2012Posted by Julie Sze in protests, students, university.
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so what happened at the first court appearance?
Two UCD Law faculty published an op-ed in the Sac Bee supporting the DA and Administration position.
Here’s a response in the comments section from another UCD faculty, Mike Ziser (reposted with permission):
These two law school professors are an embarrassment to their profession, their home institution, and the better part of American jurisprudential history. In the space of a brief op-ed, they manage to make grave errors of fact (the students did not block access to the bank; the bank itself locked its doors in response to the protests), to introduce numerous irrelevant and prejudicial details (the loss of student funds), to omit key details (like the rationale behind the protest and its connection to the illegal behavior of the Chancellor during the pepper-spray incident), to condescend to their colleagues (who need a “teachable moment”), and to insult the intelligence of their broader audience by pretending that the university has any genuine interest in or history of equitably applying the law or even its own internal policies (when the contrary was amply demonstrated in the Reynoso report).
And this is before one even considers whether a strained technical reading of the law in favor of restricting certain people’s rights represents a morally acceptable response to the larger political issues at hand. As some commenters have noted, the civil disobedience of the Civil Rights era is to the point here, in particular Rosa Parks’s actions, which professors Brownstein and Amar no doubt would describe as “blocking access to the white’s-only seats at the front of the bus.” And what about all those folks who were really looking forward to all that tea that the original American patriots threw into Boston Harbor?
There is a name for people, like professors Amar and Brownstein, who lend their powers of advocacy and the prestige of their academic positions to the protection and glorification a ruling administration, no matter how illegitimate or even criminal that administration: Quislings. As a UCD faculty member, I’m ashamed that these two are associated with our campus. One hopes they’ll be promoted away soon for their loyal service.
Letters to the DA in support of the Banker’s Dozen April 24, 2012Posted by lagrindstaff in access to education, protests, students, Uncategorized, university.
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Faculty around the university are mobilizing in support of the Banker’s Dozen, making phone calls, donating money, and writing letters. Below is a letter I wrote on behalf of the Sociology department. I plan to hand-deliver the letter to the DA’s office in Woodland on Wednesday morning, two days before the case goes to court. So far 21 of 23 Sociology faculty have signed, and an additional 50 faculty from other programs and departments around campus have asked that their names be added to the end of the letter to show their endorsement.
24 April 2012
Dear District Attorney Jeff Reisig,
As faculty of the Department of Sociology at UC Davis, we are writing to express our strong objection to your decision to charge 11 students and one professor with 20 counts each of obstructing movement in a public place, and one count of conspiracy. (Six of the cases were referred to your office by the UC Davis administration, and your office increased the number to 12). Charges were filed after an anti-privatization blockade of the US Bank ended with the closure of the bank’s campus branch in late February. This blockade was peaceful and a form of conscientious objection to the role that banks have played in both generating and profiting from spiraling student debt. According to the Washington Post, total student debt in the US now exceeds $1 trillion. The deal struck between the university administration and US Bank signaled the further privatization of public higher education and unfairly put students at risk for accumulating further debt.
Among the 12 accused are students who were pepper sprayed by campus police on November 18, 2011. But whereas you never brought charges against the individuals responsible for that unwarranted violence, you have elected to prosecute the Banker’s Dozen to the fullest extent possible. This is a clear move to punish the student protesters and privilege corporate interest over students’ right to assembly and free speech. We object to the use of retroactive legal action against peaceful civil disobedience and we object to the use of tax-payer-generated county funds (via your office) to protect a private corporation’s right to profit from increasingly indebted students at an increasingly expensive public university. Affordable public education is essential to democracy. Criminalizing political dissent that seeks to defend access to affordable public education is itself criminal, in the spirit if not the letter of the law.
We look forward to your response.
(21 signatures, with an additional 50 faculty signing on to endorse the letter).
Dear Chancellor Katehi, Provost Hexter, and Chair Bisson:
We, the undersigned faculty of the Program in Cinema and Technocultural Studies, write to ask that you do all that is in your means to have District Attorney Jeff W. Reising drop the charges against the UC Davis community members who have come to be known as the “Davis Dozen”. Of those charged, at least four have been our students—Evan Buswell, Thomas Matzat, Kevin Smith, and Geoffrey Wildanger—and Joshua Clover is a faculty colleague of ours.
We are very concerned about the excessive criminalization of civil disobedience and the apparent unwillingness to work constructively with members of our community who put themselves at risk on behalf of UC Davis. As you know, each of those charged now faces a maximum sentence of eleven years imprisonment and one million dollars in fines. In particular, we are concerned that the decision to turn the protestors over to the District Attorney rather than working with them through university mechanisms has brought further unnecessary harm to the campus community.
The protest concerned US Bank issuing UC Davis student ID cards that could also function as ATM cards and thereby the use of the University’s persuasive imprimatur (an authority developed through decades of academic excellence and civic service) to encourage students to become US Bank customers. The symbolism of turning student IDs into ATM cards is particularly disturbing given that rapidly rising tuition is linked to rapidly rising student debt. Moreover, since banks profit from increased student debt, and since higher tuitions threaten to price public higher ed out of reach of its market–i.e., the public–the business arrangement with US Bank gives the appearance of the University having a vested interest in its own demise.
In our view, the actions of the protesters should be regarded as acts of civil disobedience on behalf of UC Davis and public higher education generally and treated accordingly. Particularly in light of the pepper-spraying incident of November 18, it is critical that we all take a strong and principled stand in support of public education and the rights of our community members to speech and dissent. Using your influence with the DA’s office to drop the charges will be an important sign of your commitment to that goal.
Sarah Pia Anderson
Davis Dozen Rally April 24, 2012Posted by Julie Sze in protests, students, university.
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Here are some speeches from today’s rally to support the Banker’s Dozen
From Noha Radwan (text below), Assistant Professor of Arabic and Comparative Literature and a graduate student in History, Nick Perrone Bankers Dozen Speech:
I am proud to be speaking in support of the dozen members of the UC Community who are now facing possible criminal charges for taking part in political action that has been long overdue. These 12 individuals are courageous people who deserve to be commended and supported, not criminalized and prosecuted. To me it is clear that their action was not only directed against the U.S. Bank per se but against its presence on the campus. Had they wanted to protest against the bank, they could have gone to any of the banks in downtown Davis and I suspect that they would have found ample support from members of the larger community, people who have lost their jobs or their homes or both, thanks to the economic crisis, a crisis caused by this country’s financial institutions, but from which they emerged unscathed.
(grad student speaker from Berkeley) (more…)
Davis Dozen events this week April 23, 2012Posted by Julie Sze in protests, students, university.
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Like Davis Antirepression Crew on facebook to keep up to date.
|April 23–27||Call or write the DA and Chancellor to support the Davis Bankers Dozen! [facebook]
Send a message that this repression will not be tolerated! Contact the Yolo County District Attorney and the Office of the Chancellor and demand that they drop charges against the Bankers Dozen!
For maximum impact it would be best if we could focus on getting these statements of support out the week before the trial (4/23-4/26). If you’re writing a letter it would be best to send it the week before the court date. Phone calls will be helpful up to the 27th, and if you can’t make it to Woodland for court support you can call the morning of the 27th.
|April 27||8:30 a.m.: Court Support and Carpool for the Davis Bankers Dozen! [facebook] [map]
In the aftermath of the success of the US Bank blockade at UC Davis, twelve students and professors received letters from the Yolo County District Attorney ordering them to appear on over 20 counts of misdemeanor charges. Demonstrators at UC Berkeley received similar letters four months after the November 9th demonstrations, where police officers beat students for protesting the state of public education.
This pattern of retroactive repression is the administration’s newest tool to avoid the backlash and negative media attention that followed the infamous pepper spray incident of November 18th. This approach seeks not only to punish specific demonstrators but also to send a clear message to all university students: If you protest, we will prosecute; speak out and you will be silenced.
The Bankers Dozen are set to appear in court on Friday, April 27th. INVITE YOUR FRIENDS! LET’S PACK THE COURTHOUSE WITH SUPPORTERS AND SHOW THAT WE WILL NOT BE SILENCED OR INTIMIDATED!!!
Many Ways to Support Students April 20, 2012Posted by Julie Sze in students, university.
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I had a very interesting day, first talking with a very unhappy grad student disconnected, and feeling unsupported in her program. We had an interesting conversation about individual vs collective action.
Then, I went to review applications for something in the Social Science and Humanities Building, and decided to check out the student sit-in to support a student activist who has been dismissed from UCD.
Both reminded me that we as faculty have a responsibility to support students in the ways that they feel comfortable with, whether that is direct activism, i.e. Monday’s rally for the Davis Dozen or in more individual ways, like that of the Physics Dept. .
Many of us already do a lot for and with students. It just may be time to do a bit more.
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As the Chair of the Davis Faculty Association, I’ve begun receiving inquiries both from DFA members and other faculty, about possible ways to express support for the eleven students and one faculty member who have recently been charged with crimes in connection with their protest activities.
The dozen have their own website online (http://davisdozen.org) which contains background information about the cases, and suggests where letters of support might be addressed. The dozen also are circulating an online petition which asks the administration “to solicit the immediate withdrawal of all criminal charges against students and professors.” This petition is available at:
If you should wish to offer financial support, you can donate online at:
Those charged will be appearing in court on Friday, April 27, between 8:30 am and 5. For those wishing to attend in support, there is a Facebook page with information, directions, and offers of carpools:
Scott C. Shershow
Professor of English
Chair, Davis Faculty Association
University of California, Davis
Davis, CA 95616