Approximately 100 students, faculty and staff joined together Thursday in support of higher education – discussing further plans for action after nearly four hours of protesting.
After rallying on the quad, marching through campus and holding a sit-in in Mrak Hall, protesters debated the possibility of utilizing the student government to further voice their message.
“We need to do something other than occupy buildings,” said Tatiana Moana Bush, senior political science major. “We need to be productive. We need to use our resources.”
Bush announced her plan to run for ASUCD Senate this year, and urged others to get involved.
Other students disagreed and advocated a more underground approach.
“Stop trying to work within the system. The system is flawed,” said Geoffrey Wildanger, senior comparative literature major.
Some students accused ASUCD of not having sufficient power to make a difference. However, ASUCD President Jack Zwald and Senator Osahon Ekhator argued that ASUCD could still help.
“We can advocate, we can say things louder and we can try to mobilize the student body,” Zwald said.
Ekhator said he would help organize a strike in the future.
Members of United Auto Workers 2865, a union representing over 12,000 academic student employees, told the crowd that teaching assistants will meet with the UC Board of Regents in Los Angeles on Oct. 14 to 15 to continue discussing contracts. If they don’t reach an agreement, TAs plan to strike on Nov. 1.
“Without us, this university would not run,” said Jordan Carroll, a UAW member who is a Ph.D. student in English. “Maybe there should be a day when UC has to try to function without their workers.”
At the rally, Carroll urged students and student workers to come together against the university. He said some faculty wages are down to $16,000 a year – below the poverty line – and savings were funneled upward to the administration.
Alberto Salcedo, a graduate student in the school of education, said he was frustrated with the lack of affordability and accessibility at UC.
“The UC Regents don’t care about education, they care about making a dollar,” he said.
Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Fred Wood acknowledged that students were being poorly affected by the recent cuts and fee hikes.
“I surely understand the concerns of students right now… [but] I think the main challenges we have are with the state,” he said.
On Friday, the state’s 2010-2011 budget increased funding for UC by $370.4 million.
Many students expressed anger over US Bank’s partnership with UC Davis. During the march, protesters stopped in front of the US Bank in the Memorial Union and chanted, “shame on you” and “bank off campus.”
Students passed out fliers arguing that the partnership shows that the university is like a business. US Bank could not be reached for comment.
At the end of the sit-in, after the crowd dwindled from roughly 100 to 30, protesters agreed to hold a general assembly meeting on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in front of Wellman Hall.
JANELLE BITKER can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.