Last Wednesday UC Davis students gathered in the Quad to support the ReFund California Coalition.
The ReFund California Coalition is a statewide movement with the intent of getting UC Regents, CSU Trustees and political and corporate leaders to sign a pledge demanding Wall Street Corporations and the “1 percent” pay for refunding public education through higher taxes.
Major student advocates of the movement held signs stating “Education Should Be Free, No Debt” and “Resist Austerity, Communize Now” while chanting “They say cutback, we say fight back.”
“This is important not only to the students, staff and faculty, but to future generations of Californians and Americans,” said Andrew Higgins, a graduate student in the history department.
“Students are already dropping out of the UCs, CSUs and community colleges because they can’t afford rising tuition costs, and this is only going to increase along with tuition hikes,” Higgins said. “And since California has traditionally set the national standard for higher education, we can expect to see these downward trends replicated across the country.”
Sarah Augusto, a graduate student in sociology, said that the regents had interests beyond education when it came to UC funding.
“Instead of aligning with the students and pushing the state for more funding, UC administrators have increased student fees and sought out more private funding,” Augusto said. “The reason for this becomes clear when we look at who is running the UC. The regents, who are appointed by the governor, have little background in education and are heavily invested in big banks and corporations. The decisions they make often fatten their own pockets at the expense of the students, workers and educators in the UC system.”
The ReFund California movement continued through the week. This Wednesday, students from all over California will be attending the UC Regents’ meeting where they will be deciding on a budget for the next fiscal year.
“We need to show up and let them know that we will not accept or allow a fee hike,” said Nick Perrone, the Campus Recording Secretary for UAW Local 2865, a union that represents the TAs, readers, GSIs and tutors at UC Davis.
“We are not going to sit quietly while they gut the institutions that have made this state a competitive center for innovation and development,” he said. “We are going to be there in solidarity with our fellow scholars and activists to let the regents know that resistance to corporate greed is alive and well within the campuses they are attempting to strangle with debt and mediocrity.”
The UC Regents meeting will be held at UCSF Mission Bay, and there will be free transportation available to all UC Davis students who would like to attend. Buses leave at 7 a.m. on Wednesday, and will be returning at 3 p.m.
SIERRA HORTON can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.