I have worked as a Teaching Assistant for six quarters and Graduate Student Instructor for three courses. Over the years, I have seen firsthand how cuts to the UCSC budget have affected the quality of education and student support, and the painful increases in inequality and inaccessibility that have resulted from moves towards privatizing the UC system.
I have seen talented, motivated students leave the university for lack of financial aid support in response to rising tuition, particularly students of color and those from low income families. I have seen undergraduate students in tears for their inability to get into overcrowded required courses. I have watched students struggle to work full time jobs while maintaining their studies, with no institutional support. I have seen TAs, readers, tutors, and instructors overburdened with enormous workloads, working more than their contract specifies because they care too much about the success of their students – often at the expense of their own graduate education.
Together with my fellow UAW 2865 members, and with all other students, workers, and faculty in the UC system, I am calling for rebuilding the UCs, a focus on public education over privatization, and a higher education system in California that can meet the needs of all its people. It needs to be affordable and responsive to its participants.
Department of Anthropology
University of California, Santa Cruz