Fuck the Regents and Fuck Jerry Brown Too

“FUCK THE REGENTS!”

Every night this cry rises above the thumping music at Humanities 2. It comes from the collective voices of hundreds of furious but ludic dancers who have come here to retake their university from the forces of privatization and austerity.

Jerry Brown, the governor of California (though for our part, we refuse to be governed) announced his opposition to the tuition hikes several days before the Regents met last week to approve them. Make no mistake though, this was an opportunistic shift: he leapt from a pro-hike to an anti-hike stance when it became clear to him that the people and students of the state of California opposed them.

But we must be clear that Jerry Brown is no friend to the students, or the people, of the state of California. He opposes the tuition hikes even as he supports further cuts to the UC, CSU and community college systems.

Earlier this year, Brown vetoed a bill in the California State Assembly to provide the state’s higher education systems with one hundred million dollars that he had previously promised. That money came from Proposition 30, which raised income taxes in California to fund public education. Students organized a grassroots campaign for that vote. Thousands of us went door-to-door and classroom-to-classroom to raise public support. We passed that proposition because we’re tired of going into debt for overcrowded classrooms, overworked teachers, and overpaid administrators. We passed that proposition because we needed it. That money is ours.

And yet, Brown stabbed us in the back. He diverted huge sums of that money toward the state’s atrocious prison system. The federal government ordered Brown to release non-violent offenders (mostly people of color arrested on petty drug beefs) to ease the horrific overcrowding at California prisons. Instead, he has resisted that order and spent millions of dollars that had been earmarked for education in order to keep millions of California’s people of color locked up in cages.

The alternative to tuition hikes proposed by Brown is to turn the UCs into 3-year degree granting institutions. He wants to fire tenured faculty and lecturers and replace them with chat rooms for the profit of millionaire Stanford graduates in Silicon Valley. Online education may be a fine supplement to classroom learning, but only someone as clueless as Brown, who has never set foot in a classroom as an educator, could think that it might replace the type of learning that goes on here.

We have been betrayed too many times by too many duplicitous politicians. We know that the only one we can trust to build a better university is us. We want the university.

So yes, fuck the Regents, but fuck Jerry Brown too.

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