Strikes hurt the university and our fellow students greater than they do the UC Board of Regents. This is especially so because many of the strikes in recent years have not been endorsed by the UC campuses and resulted in quite little change: The tuition increased anyway. What we really need is continued protest and a stronger, convincing voice. This is a protracted movement — we can’t solve it in one day with a single protest or strike.Let’s first look at our basic situation now. Students and UC campuses are clearly standing together in a fundamental way. The schools want money so they can retain their world-class researchers, who can in turn ensure that the students have a world-class education. We are against the UC regents. If we fail to see this, we fail to see everything that’s going on at the moment. A protracted movement has two periods, and we could succeed in the end as long as we reach these goals. Period one includes:
- The establishment of a unified student board for this protest at Berkeley
- The founding of a solid associated relationship between all UC schools’ protesting students
- The establishment of a wide connection among students, faculty and students’ families as well as alumni to act against the fee hike.If these four parties could work together, the students could stress a much stronger voice that would be far more convincing and influential on public opinion, putting much more pressure on the UC regents. These four parties would work together for sure because everybody wants to either receive more funds or to pay less in tuition fees. To establish this association among the four parties, we need protracted protesting and, at the same time, deliberate work underneath. This should be done as quickly as possible.
To fundamentally solve the fee hike problems that we have faced for the last few years, we need two more things, under period two:
- An increase of state revenues with recovery of the economy
- The establishment of a general concept for this protest that would win universal approval. We could lead the protest with the consideration of what it means for a public university to exist in today’s huge wealth disparity. This would also incorporate some of the ideology behind the Occupy movement.
Discussing the education inequality in this generation by readdressing the use of the public university would be beneficial to our next generation. The society would have a better understanding of public universities, which is essential to solving the problem of funding cuts to these universities. We need to reach these things in the long run: continuous protesting and voicing convincing arguments about the state of public education to the media. In the future, with these elements in place, the state’s funding of higher education would shift in our favor — and so would the public opinion.
Yichen Guo is a freshman at UC Berkeley.