UCSF Holds Sit-Ins For Dismissed Grad Student Workers

Monday, March 9, 2020

In reaction to the dismissal of dozens of striking UC Santa Cruz graduate student workers on Friday Feb. 28, UCSF students held sit-ins at both the Parnassus and Mission Bay campuses on Wednesday, March 4.

“The dismissal of 54 graduate student workers at the University of California Santa Cruz on Friday for their courageous and necessary fight for a living wage is outrageous and shameful,” read a statement by a group calling itself UCSF 4 COLA (cost of living adjustment).

The dismissals come after about 80 UCSC teaching assistants withheld grades for the fall quarter with demands of $1,412 a month. According to the Pay Us More UCSC website, more teaching assistants will withhold winter grades, and 559 grads have pledged to refuse positions vacated by dismissed grads.

“I really hope people will feel motivated to get involved and be engaged,” said UCSF 4 COLA organizer Catherine Tan, a Biomedical Sciences PhD candidate. “This is an issue that affects more than people involved in science.”

Previously, COLA movements had popped up at every UC campus except for UC San Francisco.

“UCSF does not have an undergraduate population, and graduate students are compensated very differently even within UCSF,” states the UCSF 4 COLA group statement. “But this does not preclude us from showing up and being in solidarity for a strike that highlights the inequities of graduate school.”

The University of Santa Barbara joined in wildcat strike action the week after UCSC with their own demand for $1,807 a month.

The strikes are not backed by the United Auto Workers Union 2865 representing graduate students UC-wide. But UAW 2865 has formally asked the UC to meet them at the bargaining table to negotiate a COLA for its members.

“Amidst the growing housing crisis, the cost of living for ASEs continues to increase at a rapid rate,” states the UAW 2865 letter of request. “For this reason, the University of California should partner with the Union to devise a solution.”