Thousand demonstrate against California education cuts

Well over 5,000 students, staff and faculty packed the University of California Berkeley's Sproul Plaza on September 24, 2009, to protest sweeping layoffs, deep cuts to academic and research programs, steep tuition hikes, and the privatization of public education in California. More than 5,000 students, teachers and other staff protested against cuts in higher education and privatization at the University of California's Berkeley campus on September 24, 2009. Above, some of the crowd at Sproul Plaza, Berkeley, during the day of protests. Substance photo by Jack Gerson.On this, the first day of fall semester classes, over a thousand faculty members and more than 1,100 graduate teaching assistants staged a walkout, coinciding with a one-day strike by University Professional and Technical workers.

[Editor's Note: Because of the enormous amount of coverage of the California protests, we're posting the material below as it was sent to us by Labor Beat. Reports compiled by Chicago's Labor Beat (see button on the right for their Home Page].

Date: Fri, 25 Sep 2009 06:51:58 -0700

Subject: Reports from around California (and the world) - The UC Walkout

From: Eric On Thursday, September 24, 2009, protests shook all 10 campuses of the University of California. Prompted by a walk-out letter signed by over 1,200 faculty, and a strike by 12,000 union researchers, students and labor allies organized a massive day of action to re-prioritize the budget of the UC system and push back against privatization. UC Berkeley, in particular, saw thousands attend rallies and marches reminiscent of previous generations, while activists at 3 other UCs occupied campus buildings (one of which is still ongoing). Politicians all over the state were forced to respond, with UC admins blaming state legislators and vis-versa. Schwarzenegger dismissed the protesters as a "screaming special interest group," while Gavin Newsom insinuated his support of the walkout, injecting the UC crisis into the 2010 Governor's race. Seeing how this was the very first day of class for most UCs, it looks to be a very long school year.. especially if you're on the wrong side of the bullhorn.

Here's a collection up of some of the reports from today. There's many more - please feel free to comment.

UC Wide

background info:


* Huge rally. Police estimate 5,000. March through streets of Berkeley, sit-down civil disobedience in front of campus, shutting down three main streets.

* All day picketing

* Over a half-dozen teach-ins (see titles:


* All day picketing

* Teamsters electricians and others honored the strike and went home

* Rally/March with estimates from several hundred to over a thousand + bikes w/ sound systems

* Brief occupation of admin building,0,6713606.story


* Faculty-Student Improv Show

* Rally (w/ estimates between 500 and 1000) outside admin building


* Noon Rally (LA Times estimate 700 people)

* March to Chancellor's office

* Occupation of Chancellor's office results in forcing Chancellor to set a meeting.,0,3895472.story


* City buses (UTU), UPS (Teamsters) and construction crews refused to cross picket lines.

* All Day Picketing

* Noon Rally with 300+ people

* 3:30pm second rally and march

* Ongoing occupation of building in the center of campus, with rally outside and


* All day picketing, joined by UNITE-HERE Local 30 members who've been boycotting the Manchester Grand Hyatt over similar issues.

* Rally w/ about 350 attendees


* All day picketing

* Rally w/ about ~75 people


Rally with ~400 people


Rally (w/ widely ranging estimates - from 150 to 500 to 1000) followed by a teach-in.


A small rally, but notable since Merced is the newest and smallest UC!


UPTE Strike/Picketing/Protest


UC Education abroad students assembled and took a group picture.

"The words we are holding up say, "Protect the UC, prevent fee increases" in traditional Chinese characters. We took the picture at the front gate of National Taiwan University, where we are all studying and have students from all the UC campuses except for San Francisco and Merced (we even have a student from CSU East Bay and a student from SF State)."




Rally w/ ~100 people against cuts and costs in the UA system, staged on 9/24 in solidarity w/ UC.


~75 students held a rally against cuts, costs, and the elimination of hundreds of classes in the Cal State system, and in solidarity w/ UC.

SF City College:

Rally against budget cuts and in solidarity with other educational institutions.


Members of Michigan GEO, AFT Local #3550 took a group picture, with signs in solidarity.



"Walkout, Rally Hailed as Rebirth of UC Activism" (as if it ever died - Front Page story from the Berkeley Daily Planet)

"I've been here since 1972, and I've never seen anything like it." - George Lakoff

"For most of UC, today was THE FIRST DAY OF CLASSES, so there was essentially no time to organize. That makes #UCwalkout even more amazing." - @studentactivism

"Faculty, students and unions from the University of California's 10 campuses including its two most prestigious, UCLA and Berkeley, joined forces in what was the biggest student protest for more than a generation... The scale of the protests has come as a shock to state authorities." - The Guardian (UK)

"being president of the University of California is like being manager of a cemetery" - UC President Mark Yudof. (The whole interview is shockingly appalling.) See: 

Final edited version of this article posted at September 26, 2009, 7:00 p.m. CDT. If you choose to reproduce this article in whole or in part, or any of the graphical material included with it, please give full credit to SubstanceNews as follows: Copyright © 2009 Substance, Inc., Please provide Substance with a copy of any reproductions of this material and we will let you know our terms — or you can take out a subscription to Substance (see red button to the right) and make a donation. We are asking all of our readers to either subscribe to the print edition of Substance (a bargain at $16 per year) or make a donation. Both options are available on the right side of our Home Page. For further information, feel free to call us at our office at 773-725-7502.


September 27, 2009 at 5:23 PM

By: Jean Schwab

Fight Back

The only way to fight for our students and for our great teachers is to follow California's lead. No one is listening now even though there have been demonstrations, grievances filed, too many meaningless meetings and articles written. We still have students not getting the education that they are entitled,great teachers that don't fit the data driven,TAP mold who are being cruelly pushed out of our schools. Somewhere we have to start saying that children are more important than our reputations and "getting along." Something more has to happen to make people sit up and listen.

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