Stanford solidarity with Occupy Cal

Although we are “rivals” with Cal students, we are one where it matters — in an interest to create a more just and equitable world than the one we inherited. To that end, we stand in solidarity with students at UC Berkeley, who have continued the legacy of the student movement of the 1960s and the spirit of the nationwide Occupy protests in the formation of Occupy Cal.

We are dismayed that the conviction, courage and intellectual inquiry shown by the Cal students was met with patronizing brutality when it was these qualities that garnered their admission in the first place. We find it hard to fathom that students who care so passionately about current economic inequality, the state of affairs at their University and the world beyond their campus are not lauded for their audacity and yearnings for social justice, but are instead met with police batons and cold indifference from the university’s governing body. What is the purpose of collegiate education if not to allow students the intellectual freedom and agency to critique the world as it is and articulate a vision for the world as it should be?

The Occupy Cal movement is not seeking to encamp for encampment’s sake but to raise awareness around the fact that their tuition has the potential to rise 81 percent over the next 4 years, pending a vote by the UC Board of Regents. This fact becomes even more troubling when 25 percent of all Cal students are first-generation college going, and about 64 percent receive financial aid. Education and equity are tantamount to the future of our country, and we cannot stand idly by while UC Berkeley administrators, UCPD, and state legislators threaten the realization of said principles.

We encourage Cal students to continue to exercise their constitutional right of expression, whether it be in the Occupy movement, in inquiry inside the classroom or in whatever professions they choose in the future. In the same vein, we encourage Stanford students and students at universities throughout the country to exercise their rights and privilege to question the status quo, especially in regards to persistent inequality in a myriad of institutions. Because the future is actively created in the present, it is imperative that we fight not only for social justice but for a future worth inhabiting.

Justin Lam is a junior at Stanford University. Michael Tubbs is a senior at Stanford University. The Stanford University organizations standing in solidarity with Occupy Cal include the Associate Students of Stanford University Executives, MEChA de Stanford, Stanford Asian American Students Association, Stanford Asian American Activism Committee, Stanford Black Student Union, Stanford Muslim Student Awareness Network, Stanford National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Stanford Pilipino American Students Association, Stanford Vietnamese Student Association and the Stanford Students of Color Coalition.