Friday, September 25, 2009

Riverside UC-AFT Statement on 9/24 Events

Dear Colleagues:

I would like to extend my congratulations to all of those who were generous with their time and energy during the many activities on the 24th. The commitment you demonstrated was a powerful one, and I think our collective statement will benefit not only UPTE but also ourselves and hopefully the most vulnerable in our ranks). Even in the midst of significant heat (in a physical sense that is), many of our members were willing to express a clear commitment to the cause of education and the University of California. Protesting can be a profoundly challenging activity, one that forces us out of our individual comfort zones. In this climate, however, it is necessary and one of our best political weapons that we can employ to safeguard our ranks and the educational mission of the U.C.

The media coverage is starting to emerge, and while there are some distortions (mostly in marginal markets), much of the mainstream coverage does appear to be positive in nature.

I was particularly pleased to see Chancellor White address the participants of the protests in a manner that suggested respect and perhaps even empathy. He stated that he supported faculty in their decisions to walk out of their classes, and he expressed frustration over the situation which the UC now confronts. While I still vehemently contend that the UC has the resources to address this current fiscal crisis, I was encouraged that our chancellor at least acknowledged the discontent that plagues the campus -- this is a far better reaction than we would have ever encountered with our former chancellor (Cordova).

Our efforts will now turn towards other projects including membership drives and student outreach.

I would like to take a brief moment to thank some of the people who were especially helpful in the preparation for the 24th. Jennifer Ramos, our vice president, exerted a tremendous effort to communicate with the undergraduate population. Sandy Barringer was instrumental in the organization of the actual event by communicating with a host of organizations on campus and generating signs for the event. Stephanie Kay offered valuable direction regarding curricular suggestions. Wallace Cleaves, Brian Linard, and Don Jobe all contributed in sundry ways that helped make this event run smoothly. Finally, Josh Fenton and Kate Watt were helpful with securing water and generating flyers.

Again, I offer my congratulations to all who made this event one that will be a part of UC history. Today, you should be proud of your contributions as sentinels of public education.

In solidarity,

Paul A.J. Beehler, Ph.D.
President, local 1966

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