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Press Release: Berkeley Students, Faculty to Strike Tomorrow to "Make Banks Pay" to Refund Higher Education, Reject Police Violence Against Peaceful Protestors

From Emma Wood
Monday November 14, 2011 - 04:19:00 PM

Leading up to protests at Wednesday’s UC Regents and CSU Trustees meetings, strikers will call on UC, CSU board members to sign pledge to make banks pay to end cuts to higher education . [Editor's Note: The Regents' meeting has been cancelled.}  

Following excessive police force used against last week’s protests to make banks pay to end cuts to higher education, Berkeley students and faculty will strike on Tuesday to reject the actions taken by police and call on higher education board members to sign a pledge to make banks pay to refund higher education. The all-day strike will include a massive non-violence training at noon, a 2pm rally at Sproul Plaza followed by a march on banks in downtown Berkeley, and the reestablishment of the Occupy Cal Encampment (see full schedule of events below). 

The effort is being organized by Refund California and Occupy Cal as part of a Refund California week of action. Refund California is a statewide coalition of students, teachers, workers, homeowners, community members and faith leaders working to make Wall Street banks pay for a crisis they helped to create. 

Last week, over 10,000 students across California took to the streets, blocking traffic and marching on banks, demanding that bank executives and other corporate elite on the three boards overseeing California’s higher education system sign a pledge to make banks pay to stop cuts to higher education. Over 14 college campuses saw protests and rallies including Fresno State, CSU Sacramento, UC Davis, UC Berkeley, UC Santa Cruz, UC Santa Barbara, UCLA, CSU Long Beach, UC Riverside, UC Irvine, UC San Diego, San Diego State and San Francisco City College. The Berkeley protest ended in an attack by police on non-violent protestors and nearly 40 arrests. 

Statement on the Nov. 15 UC Berkeley Student Strike by the Partners of ReFund California: 

Today we announce a student strike at UC Berkeley on Tuesday, Nov. 15th to reject the excessive police force used against our protests to make Wall Street – and the corporate elite on the boards governing our universities – pay for refunding public education. Some faculty are expected to join the student strike, and the actions will add to the growing momentum for statewide convergences at the CSU Trustees meeting in Long Beach and the UC Regents meeting at UCSF Mission Bay on November 16th. 

We call on the UC Regents and CSU trustees to devote their meetings on November 16 to a discussion of how they - many as corporate leaders - can carry out the ReFund California Pledge to make the 1% pay to refund public education. The CSU and UC boards should open the meetings to all as equal participants. And we ask that they promise not to use police force against nonviolent mobilizations at these meetings and during the Tuesday strike. 

There is a crisis today for California’s students and their families, but not for the Wall Street and corporate elites who control the economy and dominate the governing boards of California’s universities. 

California leads the nation in tuition increases with nearly 100 percent rise in tuition costs since 2008, inflating student loans to $1 trillion nationally. We keep paying the price while Wall Street and corporations are left off the hook. We didn’t cause the economic crisis—they did. 

That's why we call on the board members and executives of our universities to sign the ReFund California pledge to support real solutions to fund public education and improve the economy for California families. They should join the community whose interests they say they represent instead of irresponsibly using police force to silence our freedom of expression. 


Academic Professionals of California, CSU - Mobilizing Committee AFSCME 3299 - UC patient care and service employees Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment 

Berkeley Faculty Association 

California Nurses Association Communities for a New California The Council of UC Faculty Associations 

SEIU 721 - Southern California school and public service employees SEIU - United Service Workers West 

UAW 2865 - UC student employees UAW 4123 - CSU student employees UAW 5810 - UC postdoctoral researchers UC Berkeley Student Labor Justice Project 

UC Student Association UPTE-CWA, 9119 - UC professional, research and technical employees 


Schedule for Tuesday, Nov. 15th Student Strike 

8am-5pm: All day open university activities (teach-outs, workshops, public readings, installations, etc.) at Sproul Plaza and surrounding areas. 

Noon: Mass convergence at Sproul Hall and formal inauguration of day-long open university. 

Noon – 2pm: Teach-outs in Sproul Plaza. 

2pm: Rally against violence by police and the 1% against students and workers. 

2:30pm: March on the banks to be joined by Berkeley City College and Berkeley High. 

5pm: General Assembly at Sproul Plaza. 

Around 8 pm: Reestablishment of Occupy Cal Encampment. 

8pm: Robert Reich will move his annual Mario Savio lecture to the steps of Sproul Hall where the encampment will be set up.