Last week, union members and student supporters formed a delegation to deliver a letter to Chancellor Michael Drake, Vice Chancellor Thomas Parham, and Executive Vice Chancellor Provost Howard Gillman, asking that they pledge their support for our commitment to a fair workplace and accessible and safe university. In particular, we ask that they support our bargaining demands for fair and competitive wages, equal access and opportunities for undocumented students, more all-gender bathrooms across the UC, affordable and appropriate housing for student workers and their families, and appropriate Teaching Assistant to student ratios. Attached to the letter was our union’s report, “Towards Mediocrity,” which highlights the intersection of many of these issues and how they impact our public university. You may read the letter here, and the report here. Recognizing that these are issues that impact the broader university community, members and students present were hopeful that UC Irvine Administration would carefully consider these issues, open conversations with our community, and draft their own statement of support.
As of today, Chancellor Drake and Executive Vice Chancellor Provost Gillman have neither responded nor confirmed receipt of the hard or electronic copy of our letter and report. Vice Chancellor Parham met with members and students during his open office hours to discuss the issues, and stated that he would consider drafting a public statement of support.
As we await the Vice Chancellor’s response to our call for support, we are concerned that Chancellor Drake and EVC/P Gillman are not treating these issues with the gravity of consideration they deserve. So far, UC Irvine administration has remained silent on our bargaining issues, and in particular, issues of social justice which affect the broader university community.
We’re asking members and supporters to take the time to send an email to Chancellor Drake and EVC/P Gillman asking that they respond to our request. Below is a suggested template; however, students and workers should feel free to use this as an opportunity to voice their individual concerns about the direction of our university.
Chancellor Drake: firstname.lastname@example.org
Executive Vice Chancellor Provost Gillman: email@example.com
Dear Chancellor Drake / Executive Vice Chancellor Gillman,
On Dec. 4th, students and workers delivered a letter to your office asking that you pledge support for several issues that broadly impact the quality, safety, and accessibility of public education at the University of California. As a (Teaching Assistant / student / faculty member / community member / etc), I recognize the significant impact that improvements in TA wages, access for undocumented students, the availability of all-gender bathrooms, the affordability of housing, and TA to student ratios would have on our university. I’m urging you to please consider these issues and respond with the care that they deserve.