Chancellor Birgeneau Refuses to Compromise, Strike Continues

Chancellor Birgeneau and Vice Chancellor Breslauer have made it clear that student safety and health is not a priority to them. On Monday, May 10th, dozens of UCPD and Alameda County Police officers were deployed at California Hall and refused to allow strikers access to water when they needed it as well as the ability to pitch a tent in order to keep themselves out of the rain.

Furthermore, despite presenting the chancellor with a reasonable compromise guaranteeing that dry strikers would start drinking water Monday night and guaranteeing that the hunger strike would end Tuesday in exchange for a meeting, the chancellor refused to accept any compromise to put this matter to rest. Chancellor Birgeneau continues to jeopardize the health of student strikers and despite eight days without food, a faculty petition in support of immediate negotiations, and a day of mass sit-ins at California Hall and University House, he still refuses to negotiate in good faith. Throughout this entire strike, peaceful student protesters have shown a willingness to compromise to bring this situation to an end while Chancellor Birgeneau, Vice Chancellor Breslauer and their staffers have expressed a failure to compromise, to speak respectfully to our negotiators, and understand the struggles of the students on strike.

Birgeneau’s handling of this situation serves as an example of the kind of racist and classist logics that university administrators use to marginalize, control and instill terror in students workers, and faculty on our campus. The fact that students and workers who find themselves terrorized in the wake of heartless budget cuts, hate crimes at UC campuses across the state and racist legislation, can’t get a simple meeting with the Chancellor of our university to make concrete reforms to make our campus more inclusive is an outrage. But this is why we are engaged in this struggle. We understand that Arizona’s racism is alive and well here on our campus. Birgeneau’s treatment of our solidarity coalition underscores the systemic marginalization that the hunger strikers are trying to end at Cal and in our country. Birgeneau’s actions not only validate the need for direct action, they strengthen our resolve.

So, the strike continues. There are now eight dry strikers and a growing list of solidarity hunger strikers. We call on supporters to join in solidarity with a hunger strike tomorrow. There is a rally tomorrow at 3:30PM. We continue to request immediate negotiations with Birgeneau and Breslauer and an immediate and peaceful end to the strike. We hope that Birgeneau and Breslauer can find it within their conscience to do the right thing and compromise, negotiate, and understand the struggles of the student strikers.

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About nodiplomacy

nodiplomacy is a graduate student in some department thinking critically about race, gender, and current systems of oppression.
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2 Responses to Chancellor Birgeneau Refuses to Compromise, Strike Continues

  1. KT says:

    “Chancellor Birgeneau and Vice Chancellor Breslauer have made it clear that student safety and health is not a priority to them”
    -Really? They won’t let you drink your own water? I thought you guys chose not to drink water.
    -I wish Tang center people came rushing to me when I felt sick, boy, what lucky guys you are!! I had to GO there myself when I was sick.

    We understand that Arizona’s racism is alive and well here on our campus. Birgeneau’s treatment of our solidarity coalition underscores the systemic marginalization that the hunger strikers are trying to end at Cal and in our country. Birgeneau’s actions not only validate the need for direct action, they strengthen our resolve.
    -He supported the denunciation of the Arizona Act already.
    -And that’s just nonsense… 99% of us don’t even care, Go protest in Arizona, gosh…

    You probably going to delete this comment, to repress my free speech, but oh well.

    • Lucy C says:

      KT: There’s a few problems with your comment.

      1. Lack of information: at the time the police took away water from one of the hunger strikers, there were NO strikers on a dry strike yet. The students began to NOT to drink water as a response to the tactics the administration is using to wait out the strike. They know eventually it’s going to end either in them giving up or in serious health complications (they hope the hunger strikers will just get up and leave). In not drinking water they hope to put pressure on the administration to set up a negotiation meeting with them ASAP, as they have continuously refused to negotiate with them.

      Let me provide a definition of a hunger strike just in case:
      “A hunger strike is a method of non-violent resistance or pressure in which participants fast as an act of political protest, or to provoke feelings of guilt in others, usually with the objective to achieve a specific goal, such as a policy change.” (wikipedia)

      2. I’m sure you had the ability to walk to the Tang Center as well and did not have the concern of attempting to conserve all your energies in order to maintain your health as long as possible. You don’t have to be a biology major to see that not having eaten for 200+ hours possesses serious health and safety complications to your body and immune system. This is not comparable to having the flu.

      3. It’s nonsense to denounce SB1070? You don’t care?
      Yes racism is alive and well here in our campus, in the US and globally. Yes WE do care about the continuous and systematic oppressions of our communities and our families based on the color of our skin. WE do care about unjust policies that marginalize and criminalize human beings who are pushed into this country because the United States has capitalized on their home country’s labor and exhausted their natural resources and their capacity for self sustenance.
      I could go on forever but the point is that it is this mentality and attitude of “not caring” that reaffirms the systematic racial hierarchies within our society at large and worse that leads to national and global policies of mass genocides of people.

      Like you I am also a firm believer of free speech. Comments like the one you just made are particularly important to this dialogue and should not be repressed. We must always strive to challenge thoughts that are based on ignorance in ways that are productive so we can ultimate create the shift in consciousness that is needed for the advancement of all peoples.

      If it is the disconnect from the struggle of oppressed communities that has shaped your perspective on this issue, and you care to learn more, shoot me an email and I can recommend you some books to read.

      -Lucy

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