Thursday, July 14, 2011

UC Regents Meeting, July 12-14: Class War Edition

Graduate students protest the tuition hike.Today the UC regents officially voted to once again raise student tuition while at the same time increasing compensation for high level execs:

SAN FRANCISCO -- University of California Regents voted Thursday to raise tuition by 9.6 percent -- on top of an 8 percent increase already approved for this fall -- over the objections of students who said they'll drown in debt.

At the same meeting, the regents also gave large pay raises to three executives, including two who are paid from state funds.

This fall, undergraduate tuition will rise to $12,192, more than 18 percent higher than last year's $10,302 -- a level that prompted violent student protests. With a mandatory campus fee of $1,026, a year at UC now costs $13,218 before room and board.

That's more than twice what it cost in 2005.
If austerity is class war, as our compañeros at Bay of Rage like to say, then these repeated tuition hikes should be considered a weapon in the administrative arsenal. Notably, the regents themselves relied heavily on war rhetoric today in discussing student tuition. Sherry Lansing, the regents' recently inaugurated chairperson who stumbled through the motions of her new role today, called for students to join with "staff and chancellors and all of us" to "continue this battle." For his part, Richard Blum, husband of U.S. senator Dianne Feinstein, huge investor in for-profit education, and perhaps the single most corrupt of all the regents, outlined what he saw as the first step of this battle as follows: "we should determine who our friends are and who are our enemies."

We too see what's happening at the universities -- and in every other sector of this country -- as a form of war. But we draw different lines around our friends and our enemies. For regents like Blum and Lansing, the enemies are students, workers, and faculty. Each of these groups constitutes a target to be attacked via specialized instruments of war: tuition hikes for students, layoffs and wage cuts for workers and (to a lesser extent) faculty. That is why we are the crisis and the job of the university's corporate management is precisely that -- to manage the crisis, to manage us.

(image from the daily cal, quotes via dettman)

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