Academic workers rally in support of Suresh Madheswaran and increased job security for international researchers

Academic workers rally in support of Suresh Madheswaran and increased job security for international researchers
Photo by Mila De La Torre/ UCSD Guardian

Members of UAW Locals 2865 and 5810 held a second emergency rally at Moores Cancer Center on Jan. 17 to urge UC San Diego to extend postdoctoral cancer researcher Suresh Madheswaran’s visa and demand fairer treatment of international workers.

Madheswaran, who was terminated from his position on Nov. 13 following his request for paternity leave, faces deportation in early February unless the university intervenes. He is searching for a new position so that he can remain in the U.S. with his wife and newborn, but he has not been able to find an employer that will hire him before the end of his grace period.

Rally organizers led chants in the hallways of the cancer center before confronting Madheswaran’s former boss in her office. Security officers asked them to leave the building.

Outdoors, a speaker leading the rally addressed the crowd. The UCSD Guardian was unable to identify the speaker as of time of publication.

“We’re not asking for that much,” they said. “We’re demanding respect and dignity for Suresh and for all postdocs.” 

“Is it equitable? Is it inclusive? When postdocs get laid off and separated from their families?” they added. “UCSD likes to talk a big game [when it comes to] EDI… but their priority is always going to be more power for administration, less power for the workers.”

Madheswaran spoke with The Guardian after the rally, expressing his support for the organizers and community members who have amplified his case.

“I know I have been unfairly treated,” he said. “But now at least I’m happy that people are there to support me, which is giving me lots of confidence to fight back again, to take control of my ambitions… Because actually, if you people [were] not around with me, I would have decided to quit my ambitions, which I’ve been holding for the last 10 years.”

For more details on Madheswaran’s story, visit our website or view our video coverage on social media

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