Facutly Backs Students, Zings Kilger

blog_slug2UCSC faculty takes UCSC administration head on in a recent letter to the community

Fifty faculty members have signed an open letter to the UC Santa Cruz campus community in support of the strike and protest that happened on March 4. Notable faculty signatures include those of History Professor Dana Frank, American Studies Chair Eric Porter, and Kresge College Provost Juan Poblete. Last week’s protest and strike effectively shut down the base of campus preventing most workers, teachers, and students from going to work or class.

“It is true that the demonstration successfully stopped ‘business as usual’ on the UCSC campus,” the letter says. “While this may have represented an inconvenience for some, it perhaps bears repeating that no significant social change occurs without some inconvenience.”

The letter was very critical of External Vice Chair and Campus Provost David Kliger, particularly for official comments he made on the day of the strike. Kliger circulated e-mails and press releases throughout the day that claimed that student protestors were brandishing knives and metal clubs. Organizers and those in attendance, including many faculty, vehemently denied the statement. But the information had already circulated through major news organizations including the San Jose Mercury News.

Also that morning, Kliger reported that students smashed a car window. Witnesses say this was done in retaliation after the car attempted to drive through a dense crowd of students, forcing them to scatter out of harm’s way.

The open letter from UCSC faculty members calls the strike a peaceful demonstration and an “impressive example of the ability of our students to educate themselves and others about the state of the California budget.”

It adds, “We think that the administrative leadership of UCSC should recognize the students’ commitment to defend public education in calling attention to the ongoing crisis with a day of public action.”

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