Friday, November 27, 2009

Letter of Solidarity

If you would like to add your name to this letter of solidarity initiated by Peter Hallward of Middlesex University London, please email Nathan Brown at or by the middle of next week!

Statement in support of the UC Mobilisation

24 November 2009

We the undersigned declare our solidarity with University of California students, workers and staff as they defend, in the face of powerful and aggressive intimidation, the fundamental principles upon which a truly inclusive and egalitarian public-sector education system depends. We affirm their determination to confront university administrators who seem willing to exploit the current financial crisis to introduce disastrous and reactionary 'reforms' (fee-increases, lay-offs, salary cuts) to the UC system. We support their readiness to take direct action in order to block these changes. We recognise that in times of crisis, only assertive collective action – walkouts, boycotts, strikes, occupations... – offers any meaningful prospect of democratic participation. We deplore the recent militarization of the UC campuses, and call on the UC administration to acknowledge rather than discourage the resolution of their students to struggle, against the imperatives of privatization, to protect the future of their university.


• Gopal Balakrishnan, History of Consciousness, UC Santa Cruz
• Karyn Ball, English and Film Studies, University of Alberta
• LeGrace Benson, Emerita, SUNY Empire State
• Nathan Brown, English, UC Davis
• Darcy C. Buerkle, History, Smith College
• Julie Carlson, English, UC Santa Barbara
• Anthony Carrigan, English, University of Keele
• Paula Chakravartty, Department of Communication, UMass Amherst
• Piya Chatterjee, Women’s Studies, UC Riverside
• Noam Chomsky, Linguistics, MIT
• Joshua Clover, English, UC Davis
• Elizabeth DeLoughrey, English, UCLA
• Mattanjah S. de Vries, Chemistry and Biochemistry, UC Santa Barbara
• Hent de Vries, Humanities Center, Philosophy, Johns Hopkins University
• Alexander Garcia Düttmann, Philosophy and Visual Culture, Goldsmiths University
• Aranye Fradenburg, English, UC Santa Barbara
• Manu Goswami, History, NYU
• Greg Grandin, History, NYU
• Martin Hägglund, Society of Fellows, Harvard University
• Peter Hallward, Philosophy, Middlesex University
• Werner Hamacher, Literature, Goethe University
• Harry Harootunian, History, Columbia University and Duke University
• Patricia Ingham, English, Indiana University
• Priya Jha, English, University of Redlands
• Adrian Johnston, Philosophy, University of New Mexico
• David Farrell Krell, Philosophy, DePaul University, University of Freiburg
• Ernesto Laclau, Politics, University of Essex
• Jacques Lezra, Comparative Literature and Spanish and Portuguese, NYU
• Akira Mizuta Lippit, Critical Studies, Comparative Literature, East Asian Languages and Cultures, USC
• Todd May, Philosophy, Clemson University
• Patricia Morton, History of Art, UC Riverside
• Fred Moten, English, Duke University
• Jack Linchuan Qiu, Journalism and Communication, Chinese University of Hong Kong
• Joseph Rezek, McNeil Center for Early American Studies, University of Pennsylvania
• Corey Robin, Political Science, Brooklyn College and the CUNY Graduate Center
• William I. Robinson, Sociology, University of California at Santa Barbara
• Avital Ronell, Comparative Literature, Germanic Languages and Literatures, NYU
• Louis-George Schwartz, Film, Ohio University
• Susan Seizer, Communication and Culture, Indiana University
• Brenda R. Silver, English, Dartmouth College
• Christine A. Stewart, English and Film Studies, University of Alberta
• Rei Terada, Comparative Literature, UC Irvine
• Sasha Torres, Information and Media Studies, University of Western Ontario
• Alberto Toscano, Sociology, Goldsmiths University of London
• Elizabeth Walden, Philosophy and Cultural Studies, Bryant University
• Mirko Wischke, Philosophy, National University of Kiev
• Slavoj Zizek, Philosophy, University of Ljubljana.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Students drowning debt

Students are already drowning in debt....

Monday, November 23, 2009

New UCI Actions

Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Time: 12:00pm - 2:00pm



Itinerary coming shortly!

The UC has voted to raise tuition by 32%! Students were brutally assaulted at UCLA for using their right of freedom of speech! Cuts are coming from the bottom not the top, while the administrators are getting raises workers are getting fired and student class sizes get larger. It is time that we as students come together in solidarity to tell the UC it's our UC!!!

Come out and hear stories from those affected and find out what we can do from here! Please invite at least 10 others. This is our time in history will we live up to the responsibility?

We stress that this is a peaceful rally, however, we as citizens of the United States can and will exercise of First amendment Rights!

2) Liberate Langson Library!
FROM: Friday, December 4, 2009 at 4:00pm
TO: Friday, December 11, 2009 at 5:00pm
AT: Langston Hughes Library

When they raise our tuition 32%, even studying is a form of resistance.

All quarter, our library hours have been inadequate, and UCI administration is threatening to lay off even more library staff. The quality of our education falters when our library closes at 11pm during the week at 5pm on weekends. Even Finals Week is not a good enough excuse for extended library hours--the weekend before finals, the library is open:
8am-5pm on Friday, December 4
1pm-5pm on Saturday, December 5
1pm-5pm on Sunday, December 6
8am-11pm throughout Finals Week

We don't need a crowded study hall (Gateway), we need books and respect!

Friday December 4:
3pm: Teach-in outside Langson Library about the budget cuts
4pm: Study-in inside Langson Library!
5pm-All Night: teach-ins, workshops, films, music, food, quiet study areas, and group study areas.

Saturday December 5:
1pm: General Assembly, Graduate Reading Room
(schedule subject to change)

The study-in will continue indefinitely!

Be sure to bring study materials, blankets, and food!

We are trying to make the Library into a safe space for queer/trans and AB540 students; please post suggestions below. All bathrooms will be gender-neutral!

If there is something you want to see happen at the study-in, DO IT! You don't need anyone's
permission, just post what you're doing on this page or announce it at Langson!

Finally, because the Library is named after Jack Langson, local real estate baron, it is appropriate that we rename it to something relevant to students. It appears we have near-unanimity: it will be called Langston Hughes Library!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

SAVE petition to UC Regents

Petition from SAVE at Berkeley, asking the Regents to delay tuition hikes as we search for other sources of funding.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Petition to Defend Public High

Sign this Petition to support robust public funding for higher ed in CA.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

To the Gould Commission, from Michael Montoya

Sent October 2009

Dear Commissioners,

Thanks for agreeing to serve and for allowing the opportunity to comment.
I have one overriding comment that stems from my research and teaching
across disciplines.

Students increasingly approach their degrees as means to a prescribed end.
I see this in social and natural sciences, medicine, law, engineering and
less so in humanities. The pressures for students to be so oriented are
immense. However, I have found that only the top 1% of those following a
prescribed professional path, adequately imagine their discipline, their
chosen field, their research question, as part of a larger body of
intellectual pursuits. Instead, they learn how to think based upon the
perceived - often accurately so - dictates of their aspired to profession.

The same could be said of research strategies whose horizon are simply the
next grant or next publication. The risks faculty take are few, because we
can ill afford it. Our reward structures are based upon market forces for
certain kinds of knowledge.

While we could cater to this 'market demand' in each of the 5 key areas of
the future UC, I submit that we do a disservice to our state when we allow
market forces to shape what education and research have become.

My vision, and I hope to persuade here, is that education and research are
inherently risky, curiosity driven endeavors. Only under these
circumstances, structurally supported, can students be exposed to and
appreciate the breadth and depth of human intellectual, social, cultural
genius. And only under conditions of risky curiosity driven pursuits, can
innovation spring.

I am deeply saddened to encounter students and colleagues who cannot argue
the merits and flaws of their field of study with any conviction, let
alone informed by philosophical, historical, social or empirical
connection to debates in fields other than their own. This is not

The future of UC requires that the professorate and students swim in a
soup of ideas untethered to a return on investment (ROI) strategy. If we
cannot free ourselves from this intellectual straitjacket, we can never
hope to create imaginative, bold, innovative ideas and problem solutions
to the scale and scope to which our premier UC campuses aspire.

Michael J Montoya
Anthropology, Chicano/Latino Studies
Public Health
Program in Medical Education for the Latino Community

Monday, November 2, 2009

Gould Commission at UCI

The Gould Commission came to UCI, with our own Chancellor Drake, Cynthia Brown, Mary Croughan and Chris Edley presenting the Commission's structure, its mission and its willingness to listen to a sparse audience, perhaps sixty profs at most with a smattering of students and staff. The Commission asserted that the policy recommendations that they were going to draw up were not to be reactive, but rather to be authentic projections of the better UC that we should become. As expected, Edley was by the far the most aggressive member of the Commission, cross-examining the former Chair of our Faculty Senate in his best lawyerly style when she insisted that the UC should not have differential tuition across the campuses. He turned it around and asked her if UC Merced should offer better financial aid, and if financial aid should not be differential across the various UC's. Jutta Heckhausen paused and said she had not thought of this, and considered UC Merced a special case. I thought that Edley was supposed to be LISTENING, but obviously he has a few ideas of his own that he isn't keeping so secret. At one point, he asked Carol Burke to go home and think about how big a graduate program at UCI should be, and asked her to email him the answer when she had drawn her conclusions. To Julia Lupton's eloquent statement about technology and distance learning as well as distribution of resources for instruction rather than on-line ed, Edley replied, "Of course our initiative will serve professors and instructors first." I was almost reassured, when the gloves finally came off and he expressed exasperation in response to my brief statement about the Commission's managerial ethos, which seemed to neglect an intellectual rationale or vision for the UC: Edley, "I've been in California almost five years four months and twelve days, and I am tired of the ROMANTICIZATION of the UC." To paraphrase, he went on to tell us we aren't all that, and that we need to be remade and reinvented. He was also responding impatiently to an Assistant Professor of Anthropology who had mentioned that the Socratic method had worked for 3000 years and that sometimes, education at the University took place simply as conversation in his office; Ann Van Sant of English suggested the Commission may not have the instruments to measure such interactions: Edley: "You just can't compare the excellence of teaching 400 students with the excellence of conversations you are having with three of them!" I WISH I had recorded his controlled rant about how blind we all are to our limitations, and how deluded we were about our past. Now there are enormous problems with the UC, but when one of the Gould Commission's members is already "tired" of our alleged self-mythologization then, the power that he has can indeed be wielded to destroy an institution's legacy in the name of his version of a the future. In addition, he urged us to have "charity for UCOP" because if we knew about how dire the budget situation was, we would be grateful indeed about how much money we managed to get from the State considering the depth of all the cuts that have been made. This seems persuasive on some level, but I wonder if Edley or UCOP recognizes what it is like for the rest of us. I would like the admin to be a bit more grateful that we are all working at a feverish pace at less pay, watching our community's most vulnerable members lose their jobs as staff and clerical workers live in fear of a pink slip. If I saw a bit more understanding of life on the lower echelons, I might be more inclined to feel "charity" for our leaders. I am already a philanthropist of my own the tune of 7% of my paycheck. Drake seemed to be genuinely distressed when one speaker spoke of how poorly her students wrote and commented that large lecture courses of 400 were perhaps not the best places to learn the skills we assume college students should possess...One emeritus Medical prof suggested that what we should be offering as a University is something more general and broad than simple professional training. Yes, but Edley's 400 haunts us all...Managerial solutions have taken on the allure of a sovereign heroism...and the rest of us are seen as impractical malcontents, unable to fight the right wars, renounce our ideals or our romanticism and take on the new realities...Athenians in short.