Hundreds of students and faculty gathered in front of Silent Tree at Geisel Library to stand in solidarity with the 54 terminated graduate student workers from UC Santa Cruz on Monday, March 2. Titled “Red for Ed Rally,” the demonstrators wore red to signify their support for the Cost-of-Living Adjustment movement.
This latest COLA protest was called for in a public letter from several of the UCSC graduate students who were terminated on Feb. 28 from their positions after having gone on strike for three weeks.
“In our view, the only way to reinstate our comrades at UCSC, combat the preemptive disciplinary measures of an increasingly intransigent UC administration, and win a COLA, is concerted strike action on a mass scale,” the letter reads.
The UC San Diego demonstration was set to coincide with the UCSD Library sponsored “Dr. Seuss’ 116th Birthday Celebration” event, which was to be held at the same time as the protest. However, the annual event was canceled less than about an hour before it was set to start, with organizers citing “conflicting activities on campus” as the reason for the cancellation.
The demonstrators continued their rally by marching down Library Walk and temporarily shutting down a portion of Gilman Drive, before heading back towards the Chancellor’s Complex.
The “Red for Ed Rally” was not limited to the UCSD campus. Graduate students, faculty, and undergraduate students alike gathered throughout the various University of California campuses to show their support for the COLA movement and the terminated UCSC graduate students.
These demonstrations have gained national attention, with Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders recently voicing his support for the movement in a tweet.
“This is disgraceful. All workers deserve the right to bargain and strike for better wages and benefits,” Sanders’ tweet read. “To Janet Napolitano and @UCSC: stop this outrageous union busting and negotiate in good faith.”
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Get in the #colaucsd mix! Join us for a teach-in at @thechecafe on Wednesday March 4 @5p. Info and discussion on the political history and the commodification of the education system. Great for all, but especially geared to undergrads! #spreadthestrike #cola4all #colaucsd
The UCSD chapter of COLA has several more demonstrations planned throughout the week, with a teach-in slated to be held on Wednesday, March 4 at 5 p.m. in the Ché Café.
This article will be updated as the story develops.
Photo by Jacob Sutherland for the UCSD Guardian.