While the UC Board of Regents deliberates budgets in San Francisco, UC Davis students are holding their own three-day meeting to discuss how the regents’ decisions are affecting communities on campus.
The Facebook event, “Reclaim the Quad,” has over 650 students in attendance and advertises a campout, workshops, dance parties and a trip to the regents’ meeting tomorrow.
Organizers say that the students seek to highlight the privatization of the university and disappearance of public spaces.
Mohamed Shehk, a senior philosophy and environmental policy analysis and planning double major, is not expecting any police confrontation from the peaceful event.
The campout aims to raise awareness and act as a stance of solidarity with the recently ended hunger strike at UC Berkeley as well as against Arizona’s immigration enforcement law and House Bill 2281, which bans ethnic studies classes from public schools.
“All the tuition hikes and issues that have been going on are leading up to privatization, which is what we do not want to happen,” Shehk said. “This is symbolic against the privatization of the UC and public school system.”
Campus labor unions will provide transportation to UCSF tomorrow morning. Shehk mentioned the possibility of a blockade of the regents’ meeting, but that will depend on what protestors in San Francisco do today.
“We just want to show up and give our support to what they are doing over there as an act of solidarity,” he said.
Typically the quad is home to Black Family Week (BFW) this time of year. However, BFW did not receive funding from ASUCD and is hosting fewer events. Organizers of BFW hoped that ASUCD would provide $8,000 for the culture week this year.
“I think that for one particular community, this is a lot of money being requested on top of what has already been allocated,” said Senator Andre Lee at last week’s senate meeting, where the senate did not pass BFW’s bill for funds. “Everyone has been facing cuts, everyone needs to reduce their spending.”
BFW will host an event on hip-hop culture tonight in Wellman 2 at 7 p.m. and a tasting of Nigerian cuisine in Wellman 216 at 7 p.m. tomorrow. There will be a talent show on Friday and Saturday is Black Family Day where there will be entertainment all day on the quad.
Organizers worry, though, that the lack of ASUCD funding is an indicator that cultural weeks like BFW will be nonexistent one day.
“This is how events like this die,” said Osahon Ekhator, ASUCD senator and BFW organizer. “It’s only going to get harder.”
Although collaboration is unofficial, quad campout organizers want to have solidarity with BFW, Shehk said.
JANELLE BITKER can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.