SDFA Endorses the Occupy Higher Education Movement

At noon on Friday, October 21, Monte Johnson, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Ethnic Studies PhD student Alborz Ghandehari organized a successful protest and teach-in in front of the Central Library in support of the .  The event attracted over 100 students, many who came in and out of the teach-in during the afternoon to learn how the Occupy movement makes group decisions.

Students attending the Occupy Higher Education protest and teach-in on October 21st. Ethnic Studies graduate student Alborz Ghandehari discusses points of protest. SDFA Vice President Luis Martin-Cabrera is visible at right. Photo by Saniya Hussain/Guardian

The UCSD Faculty Association gave its support to the student-run protest; board member Adam Burgasser gave the following speech at the event:

The UCSD Faculty Association, a member of the Council of UC Faculty Associations (CUCFA) and the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) stand in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street, Occupy San Diego and Occupy Higher Education movements.

Over the past few years, our University has witnessed dramatic declines in state support and public funding, widespread cuts in staffing and academic services, and unprecedented increases in student tuition and fees. We see the dedicated students whom we teach going deeper into debt, struggling to make ends meet, only to find themselves unemployed when they graduate. Fellow University employees, including members of the faculty, find themselves increasingly in insecure positions, with cuts to wages, health benefits and pensions.  This is not a sustainable system.

The reduction in support for our public University system will further the decline in educational and financial opportunities for the people of California, and exasperate the gap between the vast majority of our population and the wealthiest 1%. We believe this violates both the spirit and the law of California’s Master Plan for Higher Education, as well as the  promise of the American Dream. We can no longer trade public support for education to public welfare for corporations.

It is time to stand up for those who are trying to improve their circumstances and provide for their families. It is time to stand up for what is right. We, the members of the UC San Diego Faculty Association applaud the actions the Occupy Movement to highlight the inequities in our society.  We are in this together. We are the 99%.

Also see the Guardian’s coverage of the event.