(The following post first appeared on Dog Park Media and is republished with permission. It describes events that occurred earlier today at a Regents meeting held at the University of California’s Mission Bay campus. A news update can be found here.)
About 500 students are currently blockading entrances to the University of California Board of Regents meeting at UC San Francisco this morning, where the Regents are scheduled to vote on a budget that presumes a 24 percent across-the-board increase on UC tuitions over four years. Picketing students have pledged to shut the meeting down.
According to Charlie Eaton, one of the organizers of the protest and co-author of a report released this week that charged the Regents with employing exotic financial instruments that doubled the UC system’s debt load over three and a half years, as of 8:45 a.m.
Millions of dollars in new tax revenue earmarked for the University of California system as part of the state’s recently passed Proposition 30 will instead be routed to major financial firms, because of bad bets made by a Wall Street-influenced UC Board of Regents.
Over the last decade, tuition and fees for undergraduates in the UC system have tripled, adding enormous debt burdens to UC graduates and pushing lower-income students into the already overburdened state college and community college systems, or out of higher education altogether. Members of the UC Board of Regents, which governs the system and which approved the tuition hikes, have blamed the increases on the bad economy and on politicians.
However, according to a new report written by five doctoral students at UC Berkeley, in the years preceding the 2008 financial collapse, members of the Board of Regents themselves had overseen “a qualitative shift in the financial practices of the University of California” by employing the same kinds of exotic financial instruments that precipitated the meltdown on Wall Street — primarily,
In September, 25,000 Members of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) stood strong on picket lines and flooded the streets of downtown Chicago in rallies, refusing to return to work until the school district and Mayor Rahm Emanuel came closer to their idea of fair in contract negotiations.
They prevailed. The teachers defeated merit pay, forced the district to hire 600 teachers and took care of laid-off workers. In doing so, they showed that teachers’ unions will not lie down, even as privatization encroaches. The teachers and unions also experienced an outpouring of support from activists and the general public.
How did CTU pull it off? What lessons are there to learn from the victory in Chicago?
A recent forum asked how CTU transformed its union in order to draw lessons for the future from the successful campaign. The forum was documented on video (posted above). Featured speakers are:
(The following feature from the American Prospect is reposted with permission. Although it mostly focuses on Propositions 30 and 38, it also examines the leading financial backer of Proposition 32, which Frying Pan News is following in a special series of investigative pieces.)
America has the Koch brothers, and now California has the Munger kids. Unlike the right-wing Kochs, Molly Munger and her brother Charles Jr. entered politics from opposite directions—she’s a liberal Democrat and a champion of inner-city schools; he’s an economic conservative, a social moderate, and a Republican activist. But thanks to the vicissitudes of California politics and the self-absorption that wealth can bring (their father is Charles Munger, a Pasadena attorney and investor who is the longtime vice-chairman of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway investment consortium), they’ve come together in the past couple of days to attack the most important measure on the California ballot: Governor Jerry Brown’s initiative to raise taxes on the rich so that the state’s schools and colleges won’t take a massive fiscal hit immediately following the election.