They’re fighting for ‘a dignified life for all at the university’
Graduate students at the University of California, Santa Barbara, will go on strike beginning this Thursday in order to force the school to administer an $1800 “cost-of-living” adjustment, an amount that would be given to “all graduate students regardless of individual salary.”
The Daily Nexus reports that the agitation for what’s known colloquially as a COLA has popped up at every University of California campus except that of San Francisco. Last week, Santa Barbara students occupied the campus’s Cheadle Hall in solidarity with striking graduate students at the Santa Cruz campus who were demanding of that university their own cost-of-living raise.
During the occupation at Cheadle Hall, students called for UCSB chancellor Henry Yang to denounce threats of firing directed at Santa Cruz graduate students who were refusing to distribute grades absent a cost-of-living adjustment. Following that demonstration, the UCSB Graduate Student Association announced on Facebook that it was was joining Santa Cruz as “the second UC campus striking for a cost of living adjustment.”
UCSB graduate students have been organizing for a COLA since December, but most of the movement’s initial actions were in solidarity with the striking UCSC graduate students.
Actions at UCSB began with a solidarity rally in December and with a “sick-out” in January, when approximately 150 graduate students, faculty and undergraduates marched from Storke Tower to the Arbor to coincide with the UC Regents meeting.
In addition to calling for a COLA of $1,807.51 per month, organizers demanded that the COLA payments do not come from “an increase in undergraduate or graduate tuition, campus fees, or university-owned housing rent.”
The graduate students also demanded that the university “must not retaliate in any form, implicit or explicit” against anyone who participates in the ongoing demonstration. The organizers referred to a cost-of-living adjustment as “a structural commitment by the institution, recognizing that this university would not function without graduate student labor.”
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