Saturday, February 29, 2020

UC-Davis seems to be calmer than the scary headline

While the headline is scary, the text of the article below suggests most folks at UC-Davis are going about their business.

‘Nervous for my life.’ UC Davis campus on edge as it waits for student’s coronavirus test

Sawsan Morrar, 2-29-20, Sacramento Bee

...Very few students were wearing masks Friday on the campus of nearly 40,000, one day after health officials announced that a student there had shown “mild symptoms” of coronavirus. The student and two others living in Kearney Hall have been placed in isolation. The student being tested has a runny nose and a cough after potentially being exposed to someone with coronavirus, officials said. The individual is in isolation at a home off campus. The two other individuals in isolation were on campus, and are not showing signs of the virus, according to university spokesman Andy Fell. University officials said they don’t know for sure when test results will come back on the student showing mild coronavirus symptoms.

Angel Garcia, 18, lives on the first floor of Kearney Hall – which houses mostly first-year engineering students but also has upperclassmen in residence – and said he is a close friend with one of the students who was placed in isolation. The two students in isolation were removed from the dorms and have been separated, he said. Garcia said he doesn’t know the roommate who is being tested for COVID-19 but has been communicating with his friend who was living in that dorm. Garcia said his friend has been in good spirits since the ordeal began Thursday. “He’s not freaking out,” Garcia said, declining to give any information that could identify his classmate. “He’s focusing on his studies and his upcoming midterms,” Garcia said. “I’ve been giving him notes from class.”

Garcia said many of his peers were taken by surprise when news broke on campus, but have generally tried to remain calm...

Full story at

The Grad Student Strike at Santa Cruz - Part 16 (Friendly {?} Reminder at UCLA)

Email circulated yesterday at UCLA:

Dear Faculty Members:

As instructors, researchers and future colleagues, UCLA graduate students play key roles in the teaching and research missions of our university. As you may be aware, some UCLA graduate students are participating in campus actions this week in support of UC Santa Cruz graduate student employees who are engaging in an unauthorized strike.

UCSC students — and some UCLA graduate students, under the banner UCLA4COLA — are demanding that the University of California pay all graduate students a cost of living adjustment to offset housing and other costs.

We recognize that the high cost of living in Los Angeles presents unique financial challenges to students pursuing graduate and professional degrees. UCLA remains committed to providing the strongest possible financial support packages to help our graduate students pursue their educational goals. To that end, UCLA has increased financial support for graduate and professional degree students by 35 percent over the past decade, even as enrollment increased by only 9 percent.

  • In 2018–19, UCLA graduate students received $489.1 million in total funding, $261.7 million of which was awarded based on merit (fellowships, research assistantships and teaching apprentice appointments).
  • Between 2009–10 and 2018–19, merit-based funding for graduate students increased 47 percent, including an 87 percent increase in TA funding and a 39 percent increase in fellowship funding.
  • Funding for need-based financial aid increased 122 percent, while student loans increased by only 3 percent.

The Centennial Campaign for UCLA raised $414 million for graduate fellowship support, an increase of 214 percent from the last campaign. Additionally, many of the 170 new chairs across campus include endowments that fund graduate students. New centers and institutes also provide funding opportunities for graduate students. And we will continue to make graduate student funding a top priority.

UCLA deans are receptive to guaranteeing multiyear funding packages for all doctoral students, and we remain committed to increasing the availability of both merit- and need-based support for all graduate students. And, recognizing that graduate student housing costs in our area are the second highest in the UC system, UCLA has been working to create additional housing inventory and new lower-cost housing options for graduate students. UCLA already provides living space for nearly 500 graduate students at $1,000 or less per month, and more capacity at that rate will become available in fall 2020 and again in fall 2022.

UCLA graduate students and faculty share a commitment to teaching our undergraduate students. We hope that everyone will keep this commitment in mind as they express their opinions and concerns in the days and weeks ahead.

We also want to remind faculty of their responsibilities to the UCLA undergraduate and graduate students they teach. These responsibilities include maintaining, approving and submitting grades for all courses for which they are the instructor of record. [Bold face & italics added]

UCLA remains committed to engaging with our graduate students to find solutions to the financial challenges they face while earning their degrees. To this end, we will look to you for help in guiding students toward timely degree completion, fundraising for graduate fellowships and research assistantships, and advocating in Sacramento for additional resources to support graduate education throughout the University of California. Together, we will continue to do our best to fulfill our mission of educating all UCLA students.

Emily A. Carter
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost

Robin L. Garrell
Dean, Graduate Division
Vice Provost for Graduate Education

The Grad Student Strike at Santa Cruz - Part 15 (Firings & PERB filings)

From the LA Times (with some analysis below):

UC Santa Cruz fired 54 graduate student workers who were on strike demanding higher pay to afford the area’s high cost of living.

Suhauna Hussain, 2-28-20

As part of a “wildcat strike,” about 200 teaching assistants decided in December to withhold fall quarter grades after months of back and forth with campus administrators. They demanded an increase in pay of $1,412 a month. The strike is not backed by the union that represents the university’s graduate student employees.

Tension between student workers, the campus and University of California administrators heightened dramatically in recent weeks as talks floundered. Students escalated the grade strike in early February to a full work stoppage, refusing to teach, hold office hours, conduct research or post grades. Seventeen students were arrested at a campus protest Feb. 12, and UC Santa Cruz and the UC president published a series of letters online over the last month warning student workers they would be disciplined if they failed to submit grades.

On Monday, UC Santa Cruz told teaching assistants it would check for the withheld grades later in the week. The campus sent letters of intent to dismiss Friday around noon to 54 students. An estimated 30 other students who had yet to secure spring teaching jobs were told they would not be eligible for the positions, student activists said.

Housing is expensive in Santa Cruz, and student workers have a difficult time living on the typical stipend of $2,400 a month before taxes, said Veronica Hamilton, vice president of UC Santa Cruz’s graduate student association and chair of the campus’ unit of UAW Local 2865, the union for more than 19,000 student workers at the UC system.

The cost-of-living-adjustment movement has spread to other UC campuses.

UC Santa Barbara graduate students voted Monday for a full strike, and UC Davis students decided Thursday to withhold student grades for the winter quarter until the university raises their housing supplement. Students across the 10 UC campuses have held rallies in support of student workers at UC Santa Cruz.

Among those fired Friday was Brenda Arjona, a third-year doctoral student in anthropology who has a 10-year-old son and lives in student family housing. She’s still trying to figure out what being fired will mean for her status as a student.

As a teaching assistant, she doesn’t pay tuition, and Arjona said there’s no way she can pay thousands of dollars of tuition out of pocket, so she may have to withdraw or take a leave of absence from the school.

“I’m struggling for basic needs such as toilet paper, buying my son milk,” said Arjona, who pays about $1,700 a month in rent out of the $2,200 she receives after taxes. “If there’s an emergency, I have truly nothing to fall back on.”

She had known losing her job was a possibility but wanted to keep pushing on with the strike. “I should not have to live this way,” Arjona said.

Hernandez-Jason said UC Santa Cruz’s administration has worked to hear and address teaching assistants’ concerns.

“UCSC leadership is well aware of the housing crisis in Santa Cruz and has made numerous good faith efforts to offer solutions and assist our TAs,” Hernandez-Jason said in an email.

These efforts including an annual $2,500 housing supplement until more campus housing becomes available for graduate students and two temporary housing assistance programs for graduate students. The campus’ chancellor also announced a joint working group to develop “appropriate and sustainable” graduate student support, Hernandez-Jason said.

Hamilton said the $2,500 supplement offered by the university after negotiations this year provides students with only an extra $200 a month, which does not do enough to fix the problem. She said students shouldn’t have to relinquish their only leverage for the university to come to the table.

“They shouldn’t fire anybody,” said Hamilton, who is a graduate student teaching assistant but was not among those fired. “People are telling them they’re homeless, and they won’t have a substantive conversation.”

UC’s four-year contract with the UAW, which has been in effect since August 2018 and expires in 2022, includes “fair pay and excellent benefits,” UC spokesman Andrew Gordon said in a statement.

“Reopening the contract would defeat the purpose of a signed agreement and would be unfair to all the other UC unions as well as nearly 90,000 represented employees at the University who do adhere to collective bargaining agreements,” he said.

Hamilton said that the contract’s terms were inadequate and that 83% of student employees at UC Santa Cruz voted against it at the time.

On Feb. 14, the campus’ provost sent an message saying that the student workers participating in the grading strike had until Feb. 21 to submit missing grades and that those who did not would not receive spring quarter jobs as teaching assistants, or would be dismissed from their spring quarter appointments.

On the same day, UC President Janet Napolitano sent a letter addressed to faculty, staff and students saying teaching assistants would be fired if they continued to withhold grades.

“Holding undergraduate grades hostage and refusing to carry out contracted teaching responsibilities is the wrong way to go. Therefore, participation in the wildcat strike will have consequences, up to and including the termination of existing employment at the University,” Napolitano wrote. “We urge the striking TAs to turn in their grades and return to the classroom.”

The UC system filed an unfair-labor-practice charge against UAW 2865 on Tuesday alleging the union failed to take the steps required by the collective bargaining agreement to stop the strike by teaching assistants at UC Santa Cruz.

In response, UAW 2865 filed its own unfair-labor-practice charge Thursday against the UC system alleging that it refused to meet with the union to negotiate a cost of living adjustment that has been the focus of actions across the state and the two-week wildcat strike at UC Santa Cruz.

“I’m staying optimistic that we can continue to galvanize people on other campuses and spread this movement,” Arjona said.

UC Santa Cruz spokesman Scott Hernandez-Jason said in a statement that 96% of grades were submitted and the “vast majority” of graduate students have returned to work, but 54 students continued to “disrupt campus by withholding grades for undergraduate students in a way that unfairly impairs their education.”


The unfair labor practice charge filed by UC - even if it runs through the PERB (Public Employment Relations Board) process and PERB sees it the university's way - is not likely to resolve anything. It takes time for the process to run its course: charge, investigation, maybe a complaint, maybe a decision endorsing the university's position, some kind of order for the union to take overt steps to stop the strike. (What would that be? A letter from the union saying go back to work?) The union could have complained that the university offered a benefit enhancement unilaterally without bargaining during the strike. But if it succeeded at PERB on that argument, the benefit would be withdrawn, not necessarily something the union or its members would like to see happen.

Instead, the union has charged that UC sought to negotiate with entities other than the union. But it's not clear that any such discussions have taken place so far. And the PERB remedy would essentially be to tell UC not to do have such discussions and maybe post a notice saying it wouldn't do it anymore. As for the fired strikers, there might be a slim argument that their strike was against UC negotiating with entities other than the union. If PERB bought that argument, the dispute would be converted to an "unfair labor practice strike" and the university might be ordered to reinstate the strikers. However, the strikers called their dispute a COLA strike and in news interviews always referred to the cause as the high cost of living and the need for added pay, i.e., an "economic strike," not an unfair labor practice strike. And the strikers were clearly not performing their duties. So reinstatement by PERB would be a long shot. The fired strikers might use whatever grievance mechanism the union has negotiated with UC to try and regain their jobs. But since they were not doing their required duties, success through that avenue seems unlikely.

Once you get past all these legalities and procedures, however, there remains the problem of students at UC-Santa Cruz who haven't gotten their grades. Depending on the arrangements for the various courses, it may not be easy for faculty to do the grading. Who has the records for the courses? Who has the term papers and/or exams? Particularly in larger enrollment courses, the faculty may not have the material in their possession normally used for grading.
Note: The termination letter sent to the strikers is at:

It might be noted that there is a reference to a procedure for protesting the termination contained in the letter that could potentially extend the period before the termination takes place. See the last page of the termination letter.

Friday, February 28, 2020

The Grad Student Strike at Santa Cruz - Part 14 (now in DC)

From Inside Higher Ed: A University of California conference on free speech turned into a microcosm of the free speech battles regularly taking place on American college campuses after student activists showed up at the event in Washington Thursday and interrupted speakers to advocate for raises for the system’s graduate teaching assistants.

The handful of undergraduates representing COLA for All, a group pressing for a $1,412 monthly cost of living adjustment, or COLA, for teaching assistants at all UC campuses, at times stood in front of and interrupted speakers and panelists at #SpeechMatters2020, which was hosted by the UC National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement. The protesters, who are studying at the university system’s Washington center, said it was ironic that the conference was addressing how institutions should allow campus activists to respectfully express themselves while, at the same time, conference organizers were moving the protesters to the side of the stage to keep their posters from blocking audience members' views of the speakers on the stage.

The protesters held signs outlining information about striking teaching assistants back in California and calling on UC president Janet Napolitano, who sat in the front row, to resign.

Michelle Deutchman, executive director of the center, told the students they could remain but could not disrupt speakers. She used the recommended language UC Irvine includes in its policy for “preventing and responding to disruptions in real time.”

It was “fitting” to witness a live demonstration at a conference centered around campus protests and how they are handled, said Akshita Gandra, a UC Davis student who attended the conference and is a recipient of a Valuing Open and Inclusive Conversation and Engagement grant from the UC National Center. Gandra said she understands the protesters' frustration about graduate student salaries, which has been an ongoing issue since she came to the Davis campus four years ago.

“It may have been good to let them have five minutes with the mike to talk about the cause,” Gandra said of the protesters.

Protestors Missy Hart and Jazleez Jacobo accused leaders of the conference of silencing them.

“Why are you censoring me?” Jacobo said of being ushered to the side of the conference stage. “It goes along with the tactics that the university uses to silence us. Yeah, everyone has access to free speech, we're allowed to demonstrate, but did we make it in the frame?”...

Full story at

Coronavirus Guidelines from UC

Guidelines from UC for dealing with the coronavirus are being distributed via email today.

The 19-page document deals with such issues as quarantining students, rules for employees, travel abroad, etc.

A copy of the guidelines is available at:

UPDATE: From the Mercury News:

A student living in a dormitory at UC Davis has shown “mild symptoms” of coronavirus and has been placed in isolation, along with two other students living in the dorm, Yolo County and university officials said Thursday. The student has a runny nose and a cough after potentially being exposed to someone with coronavirus, officials said. The individual is in isolation at a home off campus. The two other individuals in isolation are the student’s roommates and are not showing signs of the virus.

Officials declined to say whether the three are in isolation in Davis. They are isolating “out of an abundance of caution,” according to a university press release. The Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta is testing the student’s specimen for the virus and results are expected back in three to four days...

Full story at

Nothing to Crow About

Arizona State University President Michael Crow is not a candidate for the top job at the University of California system, ASU said.

Crow's denial comes after an anonymously sourced news story by the Mercury News claimed he was a candidate for the UC system role. The story cited Pac-12 conference sources who said Crow was a leading contender for the position.

"He's not a candidate," ASU spokeswoman Katie Paquet said. "He's committed to ASU and Arizona."

Crow was not available for an interview, Paquet said...


Well, if he ever was a candidate, he now seems to have flown away:

Thursday, February 27, 2020

The Grad Student Strike at Santa Cruz - Part 13 (now spreading)

An update to our previous post on the Santa Cruz grad student/TA strike noted that it appeared that the strike had spread to Santa Barbara. It now appears to be spreading to Davis. From the Sacramento Bee:

Graduate students at the University of California, Davis will join Santa Cruz university students Thursday on a wildcat strike demanding higher wages as rent continues to rise in Davis. Participating graduate students plan to withhold students’ grades for winter quarter until the university increases its housing supplement for graduate students who work as teaching assistants. The wildcat strike, which means the student union did not endorse the strike, is intended to “disrupt the everyday functioning of the university,” read a statement from the grassroots student-run movement, UCD4COLA. The UC system has a current labor contract with UAW that covers all campuses...

Full story at

Meanwhile, it appears UC has filed unfair labor practice charges against the union on grounds that while it didn't officially endorse the strike, it hasn't taken measures to stop it. From the BruinThe University of California filed unfair labor practice charges against a student worker union Tuesday in response to strikes at UC Santa Cruz. The UC claims that United Auto Workers Local 2865, which represents UC student workers, failed to take steps required by its collective bargaining agreement to stop wildcat strikes, or strikes that are not authorized by the union, said UC spokesperson Andrew Gordon in an emailed statement. UCSC graduate students first went on the wildcat strike in December in an attempt to gain cost-of-living adjustments, refusing to hand in fall grades. As part of a second strike starting Feb. 10, UCSC graduate students have refused to teach, grade or hold office hours. Police arrested at least 17 protesters by the third day of the strike, and UC President Janet Napolitano previously threatened to fire any teaching assistants continuing to strike...

Comment: It is not clear what UC will gain, even if it gets a decision from PERB ordering the union to take steps to stop the strike. The union could simply issue a news release telling everyone to go back to work. Whether that would in fact end the strike is questionable. Moreover, as noted in earlier posts, UC - by unilaterally offering a benefit enhancement without bargaining with the union - could find itself the subject of an unfair labor practice charge. In neither case would there likely be decisions that would, on a timely basis, bring this conflict to a conclusion.


UCLA has raised $5.49 billion in one of the nation’s most successful public university fundraising campaigns, as an “arms race” heats up throughout the country for private philanthropy to offset state funding shortfalls. The final UCLA tally, announced Wednesday by campus officials, surpassed its initial goal by more than $1 billion after its public launch in 2014 to commemorate UCLA’s centennial anniversary this academic year. The funds will help support a range of initiatives at one of the nation’s leading public research universities, including student scholarships and support, endowed faculty chairs, research initiatives and building needs. “The primary goal of this effort was to let UCLA’s future eclipse even the greatest achievements of our past,” Chancellor Gene Block said. “This campaign, fueled by so many passionate supporters, provides the foundation we need to move into our second century with confidence.” The massive campaign reflects a growing national trend as more campuses launch larger and longer fundraising efforts in a scramble to find new sources of revenue for needs that state funding no longer fully supports...

Full story at

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Update on Harvard Admissions

We have, on and off, followed the Harvard admissions case which could end in a test of affirmative action at the U.S. Supreme Court. (Use the search engine of this blog and search for "Harvard admissions.") Here is the latest news item:

Justice Department argues Harvard’s use of race in admissions violates civil rights law

Nick Anderson, Feb. 26, 2020, Washington Post

The Trump administration is arguing that Harvard University discriminates unlawfully against Asian Americans when choosing an undergraduate class, siding this week with a group that challenged the Ivy League school’s admissions process through a lawsuit pending in a federal appellate court. Last fall, U.S. District Judge Allison D. Burroughs ruled that Harvard does not violate the civil rights of Asian American applicants as she gave the university an across-the-board victory in a closely watched case scrutinizing the use of race and ethnicity in college admissions. Her decision followed a 2018 trial in Boston that featured testimony from Harvard officials defending their methods of sifting and choosing from among tens of thousands of applicants a year.

The plaintiff, Students for Fair Admissions, which opposes race-based affirmative action, appealed the ruling Oct. 4. Opponents of racial preferences urge appeals court to overturn pro-Harvard ruling
On Monday, the Justice Department filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit that laid out two arguments for overturning the Burroughs decision.

First, the department claimed Harvard uses “racial balancing” to assemble incoming classes that have a “remarkably stable” racial and ethnic composition year after year. This amounts to “a system of de facto quotas” forbidden under Supreme Court precedents, the department contended.

Second, the department claimed that Harvard’s internal review of applications imposes “a racial penalty by systematically disfavoring Asian-American applicants.” 

The brief was signed by Eric S. Dreiband, the assistant attorney general for civil rights, and Elliott M. Davis, acting principal deputy assistant attorney general. The department disclosed Tuesday evening it had filed the brief. Harvard declined to comment Wednesday. Previously, the university has said it will “vigorously defend the Court’s decision, which makes clear that Harvard does not discriminate on the basis of race in its admissions process, and that Harvard’s pursuit of a diverse student body is central to its educational mission and consistent with long-standing Supreme Court precedent.”

The department’s argument to the appellate court echoed an earlier amicus brief it filed in August 2018 — before the trial — that was critical of Harvard admissions.

The lawsuit could become the next test of whether the Supreme Court is willing to overturn decades of precedent and ban consideration of race in admissions. The high court has affirmed multiple times, most recently in 2016, that schools may take race into account as one factor among many in pursuit of assembling a diverse class.

Last year, Harvard admitted 1,950 students to its undergraduate college out of 43,330 applicants. The admission rate for the Class of 2023 was 4.5 percent. The university said 14.8 percent of those students admitted identified as African American or black; 25.4 percent identified as Asian American; 12.4 percent identified as Latino or Hispanic; and 2.4 percent identified as Native American or native Hawaiian.


What Could Possibly Go Wrong - Part 2

If you are a faithful blog reader, you will know that back about two months ago, yours truly posted about a planned conversion of the existing UCLA landline phone system to VoIP (which relies on the internet).* Yours truly wondered how well the VoIP system would work in an emergency such as the Big One, which would likely interrupt electrical power. Not to worry, he was told. It's all taken care of.

This morning, what should arrive but an email from Anderson, a complex which saw an early conversion to VoIP. Here is an excerpt:

Entrepreneurs Hall (C-Building) is currently experiencing a building-wide partial electrical power issue that affects internet connectivity (Data, Wi-Fi, VoIP telephones) to the network equipment in the C-Building. Building Services is working with campus facilities to restore power as soon as possible...

Old timers who experienced the 1994 Northridge quake will know that the landlines worked even though the entire region was without power.

Feel free to resume worrying.

The Grad Student Strike at Santa Cruz - Part 12

The student newspaper at UC-Davis describes an odd situation that developed at UC-Santa Cruz in which the current alumni regent and alumni regent-delegate offered to meet with grad student strikers but were rebuffed.

Editorial comment from yours truly: It would have been better to meet; the worst that could happen is nothing. The article suggests that the current legal situation - the union can't officially step in directly because it would then be violating its fixed-duration contract with UC - has led to a leaderless situation with ad hoc decision making and extraneous issues being thrown in that will make a resolution difficult.*

Two undergrads did meet with the regental representatives:

...Ben Claire, a fourth-year environmental science and management major, and Marlen Garcia, a first-year political science and community & regional development double major, accepted the Regents’ offer (to meet). At the meeting were Regents William Um** and Debby Stegura,*** who said they were visiting different campuses to educate themselves about what was going on. UC Davis Chief of Staff Karl Engelbach was also present. Claire and Garcia, with consent, recorded the entire conversation. One talking point during the conversation was housing. Claire and Garcia both discussed their struggles finding housing as undergraduates.

Engelbach said that UC Davis was planning to add 5,000 new beds available at 20% below Davis housing market rate. When asked what they made per month and if they would support a raise for the grad students who made around $2,000 a month, the Regents and Engelbach laughed. Engelbach makes over $300,000 a year, including benefits. 

“Both parties [UAW and the UC] would have to agree to re-opening the contract,” Engelbach said with regard to negotiating higher wages. Um and Stegura gave Garcia and Claire information about the public comment section at the UC regents meetings and invited them to contact the Basic Needs Subcommittee.

“Thank you for your advocacy,” Um said. “That’s how we […] learn from the students.”

Stegura, when asked if she supported cost of living adjustments, said she supported people being able to live. “Just because we can’t say we can open up a contract tomorrow doesn’t mean that we don’t get it,” she said. “I don’t know what the resources are, but it’s a problem everywhere, it’s not just a problem with the UC.” 

Garcia said she was thankful that the regents were thankful, but that wasn’t enough. To her, she said, it felt like the regents sounded like they had heard about the problem before. “It wasn’t that they were uninterested, but they already knew it was a problem,” Garcia said. “If it was something they were interested in doing, they would have done something long ago,” 

At the conversation’s end, Stegura told Claire to “burn that video” and asked, “Am I on your good side?” When Claire responded no, Stegura told him, “I don’t have a good side.” 

Full story at
*From the article above: "The demands reflected a statement sent out by UC Davis COLA organizers before the march, describing the COLA movement as first addressing only the housing crisis, then expanding to 'become a nucleation point to articulate criticisms of the University’s role in upholding structural inequities, systemic racism, colonialism, state violence, policing and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), poverty, imperialism, and militarism.'"
**Um is the alumni regent:
***Stegora is the alumni regent designate:
UPDATE: The student newspaper at UC-Santa Barbara indicates that a grad student/TA strike is starting there:

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

The Grad Student Strike at Santa Cruz - Part 11

Various developments have occurred regarding the UC-Santa Cruz grad student strike. First, the interim vice chancellor offered enhanced housing allowances. We have reproduced that message below. Second, the union indicated that while the enhancement is nice, UC still needs to negotiate with it. That response is below. Third, the University of California Graduate and Professional Council accepted UC President Napolitano's offer to come and have a talk, but says it won't negotiate. See the article reproduced below for that story.

Basically, UC is  on the edge of at least two unfair labor practices here. Making unilateral offers of improved benefits without negotiating with the union - which under law is the exclusive bargaining representative of the grad student employees - may well be an unfair labor practice. Under state law, any change in wages, benefits, and working conditions is subject to bargaining with the union, even if it is an enhancement. UC, the employer, can only make a unilateral change after bargaining to an impasse. And, depending on the current contract's precise wording, it may be constrained from changing benefits in any case. (Note that the contract is in effect at present.) Negotiating with an entity other than the union is also an unfair labor practice. Of course, the Council says it won't negotiate. But the discussion may or may not be a negotiation, depending on what is discussed, not what the discussion is called.

As we noted, labor law in this area is largely a don't ask/don't tell system. If the union doesn't file an unfair labor practice charge with the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB), nothing happens. If it does file a charge, that step would set in motion an investigation, possibly a complaint by PERB, and, if there is a complaint, eventually a hearing and decision. So really, the ball is in the union's court at this point. Presumably, it will do what it thinks is in its advantage.

One has to wonder what kind of legal advice UC and UC-Santa Cruz is getting concerning this matter or whether the UC president and the interim vice chancellor are paying attention to the advice they are getting.

Clarification of programs offered to graduate students

To: UC Santa Cruz Graduate Students and Faculty
From: Interim Campus Provost/Executive Vice Chancellor Lori Kletzer

February 24, 2020

Last week, acting Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies Quentin Williams and I met with graduate students, department chairs, and faculty regarding the grading and teaching strike. We came away with a strong sense of our shared commitment to supporting our graduate students. We also heard genuine confusion about the quality and scope of these programs. In an effort to find a way forward together as a community, I would like to clarify the programs and describe new details that resulted from our conversations.

We heard concerns that making the $2,500 housing supplement “needs-based” would disqualify many from eligibility, particularly international students. To address this concern, we will remove the “needs-based” condition, to allow full-time, in-residence doctoral students within their first five years, and Master of Fine Arts students in their first two years, to receive the supplement. We also heard concerns that the cost of the housing supplement would be borne by departments. That is not the case. The housing supplement will be centrally funded. In addition, we commit to regular reviews of program funding levels.

We also heard many concerns from students and faculty about the letters of warning remaining in our graduate students’ employment files as they move forward. They are concerned that the letter may impact future employment on campus and in their post-graduation careers. To address this concern, we are committed to the following:

For students who immediately resume all of their TA/GSI appointment obligations, including teaching and holding regularly scheduled sections and office hours, and for whom we have verified submission of fall, winter and spring grades, we will rescind their letter of warning at the end of this academic year.

Additionally doctoral and MFA students who resume their TA/GSI appointment obligations will receive the $2,500 housing supplement retroactive to Sept. 1, 2019, for the 2019-20 academic year. Doctoral and MFA students supported through GSR/Fellowship appointments will be included in the retroactive receipt of the housing supplement available at the end of the academic year.

I want to take this opportunity to clarify that fall-grade submission, including the removal of the temporary P grade, will be verified on Thursday, Feb. 27. This provides instructors of record and course-sponsoring units the time needed to submit final course grades once they have full grading information from fall TAs.

I am grateful for the honest conversations I have had with members of our community over the past weeks. My hope is that this message provides clarification and assurance of next steps. The opportunities described here are intended to help bring our campus community back to its teaching, learning, and research mission.


The union's response is below:

From the Bruin:
UCGPC will meet with Napolitano, but won’t be negotiating contracts
Julia Shapero, 2-23-20

The University of California Graduate and Professional Council has agreed to meet with UC President Janet Napolitano but will not negotiate contracts in response to strikes at UC Santa Cruz.

Graduate students at UCSC went on strike starting Feb. 10, refusing to teach, grade or hold office hours, in an effort to obtain cost-of-living adjustments. Police arrested at least 17 protesters by the third day of the strike.

Many graduate students across the UC have expressed frustration because living expenses near their campuses have increased disproportionately to their stipends.

The UCGPC advocates for undergraduate, graduate and professional students within the UC. Representatives from 10 UC graduate students associations voted to create the council in 2017. However, UCSC does not currently have a council board member.

Graduate students at UCLA rallied in support of the strikes at UCSC by calling in sick Wednesday. Many students said the issue affected them as well, given that Los Angeles is particularly expensive to live in. Westwood is the most expensive zip code in California and the fourth most expensive zip code in the nation, according to a report from RENTCafé.

Napolitano said in a statement Friday that she invited leaders of the UCGPC to meet and discuss issues that affect graduate students, such as cost of living and housing.

“I look forward to listening to perspectives from the UCGPC, working to find solutions and moving forward toward the shared aims of ensuring the continued well-being and success of our graduate students systemwide,” she said in the statement.

The council has agreed to meet with the UC Office of the President to discuss possible opportunities for advocacy but will not negotiate a COLA or a union contract, according to a statement from the UCGPC.

“We are not and cannot be the organization that negotiates the compensation of graduate and professional students,” the statement read.

However, the UCGPC said it is proud to continue working with United Auto Workers Local 2865, which represents graduate workers and academic workers at the UC and will continue to advocate for policies that reduce the financial burden on students.

UAW Local 2865 said that while the union regularly meets with the UCGPC, the UAW is the only organization that can legally bargain with the UC.

“UC administrators are fully aware that only the union can bargain a legally-binding contract that will make progress for student-workers and hold the University accountable,” the statement read. “The time has come for UC to meet us at the bargaining table so that we can work to resolve the issues that have left so many student-workers economically insecure.”

UAW formally asked the UC to bargain with academic workers over COLA on Jan. 15, which the UC refused. Many workers pay over 60% of their income on rent, according to the statement.

Zak Fisher, president of the UCLA Graduate Students Association and a law student at UCLA, said he thinks Napolitano’s offer is insulting.

“I think she wants to give legitimacy to the idea that she is somehow actually listening to those students,” Fisher said.

Fisher added he does not think the UCGPC represents all graduate students, particularly since UCSC is not a member, as it never ratified any document in order to be represented by the council.

“I just think it’s really, really important to note that there is no document that has been ratified by every school to say that UCGPC is the quote-unquote official representatives of graduate students,” Fisher said.

He added he thinks the union, UAW Local 2865, should be included in any conversation between the UC and workers.

“(By reaching out to the UCGPC instead), this puts us on a path towards union busting for the UAW (Local) 2865,” he said. “That’s an incredibly dangerous precedent to set.”


Monday, February 24, 2020

The Grad Student Strike at Santa Cruz - Part 10

We noted yesterday that shortly before the Friday-midnight deadline set by UC president Napolitano for graduate students at UC-Santa Cruz to end their strike, she issued a letter saying there would be/could be some kind of discussions with the UC Graduate and Professional Council. So, what is that Council? It is not the union that represents graduate students with which UC currently has a contract in force. According to the Council's website:

Graduate and professional students represent a large portion of the academic workforce who must balance the challenges of being both student, employee, and teacher. The University of California Graduate and Professional Council emerged out of a pursuit to inspire and support our unique community, and a desire for actions to speak louder than words. Established in 2017, we’re an organization driven by progressive ideas, bold actions, and a strong foundation of support.


The masthead of the Council's website - see below - lists UAW as one of "our partners" along with UCOP. But there is nothing besides a link to the UAW 2865 at that listing on the website which suggests any formal relationship.

Here is the problem. Under state labor law - which is essentially copied from federal labor law - the union is the exclusive bargaining agent for the grad students. The university cannot negotiate changes in wages, benefits, or working conditions for the grad students with any entity other than the union. Even if it wants to improve wages, benefits, or working conditions above levels in the current contract, it must negotiate in good faith with the union. The university could very loosely "discuss" relevant matters with the Council. Since labor law operates within a kind of "don't ask/don't tell" structure, the union could even in some sense acquiesce to such discussions with the Council that were more than loose discussions.

However, if you look at the union's website, you will find that the union objects to the idea of discussing the relevant issues with the Council rather than discussing them with the union. On the union's website is a news release with the following heading:



It might also be noted that the Council's list of campus representatives indicates that the Santa Cruz position is currently vacant. See below:

As we have noted in prior posts, the university's position is that it negotiated the current contract in good faith with a fixed duration that has yet to expire and, therefore, as a matter of principle, the contract should be honored. The union is technically honoring the contract by not being officially involved in the strike. And, as we have also noted, the union does have an interest in having contracts it signs with UC be binding in fact for the sake of future negotiations.

But the world is what it is. The best way out of the current dilemma could be some kind of arrangement whereby the contract is not technically reopened but a satisfactory deal is reached. There are professional neutral mediators available to both sides who might assist in coming up with a compromise. It is not at all clear that the Council could play the mediating role in current circumstances. On the other hand, UC Regent Chair John A. Pérez, with his labor and political background, might well be able to assist in finding a solution or in finding someone who could.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

The Grad Student Strike at Santa Cruz - Part 9

We don't actually know what happened with regard to the grad student/TA strike at UC-Santa Cruz. There was a deadline for firing of grad student TAs as of Friday midnight. Did it happen? Did most TAs turn in their grades, as one prior report indicated? Local news sources are silent.

In any event, UC prez Napolitano issued a statement late Friday:

UC President Napolitano’s statement on her invitation to meet with the Graduate and Professional Council

UC Office of the President, Friday, February 21, 2020

University of California President Janet Napolitano issued a statement today (Feb. 21) following her invitation to UC’s Graduate and Professional Council to meet and discuss graduate academic and professional students’ concerns:

The University of California values the important work of our graduate students, who are essential to UC’s tripartite teaching, research and public service mission as a world-renowned university. UC’s graduate students are at the heart of the university community and yet face distinctive challenges that we can only solve by working collaboratively.

In the interest of pursuing a productive, meaningful dialogue about our shared concerns, I have invited leaders of the UC Graduate and Professional Council to join me for a meeting to discuss issues of importance and impact to graduate students, including cost of living, housing, mental health, training and mentoring, career placement, and childcare, among others.

UC believes progress on complex problems can only be achieved when we work together and engage in thoughtful discussion followed by a concerted plan of action. To that end, I look forward to listening to perspectives from the UCGPC, working to find solutions and moving forward toward the shared aims of ensuring the continued well-being and success of our graduate students systemwide.


UPDATE: According to a website maintained by the strikers, the strike continued past the Friday deadline. See Presumably more will be known tomorrow.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

More TMT

The editorial below from the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, as reproduced from yesterday's UCOP Daily News Clips, suggests 1) local elected leaders in Hawaii are unable to produce anything but delay on the TMT project, 2) there is little to be gained by further discussions, and 3) the only resolution, if any, will come from the state legislature.

As far as UC is concerned, it seems unlikely that UC prez Napolitano will play much of a role, since she is looking toward retiring this coming summer. UC Regents Chair John A. Pérez has promised some kind of hearing on this matter. Although he has a legislative/political background, whether he has a sense of Hawaii politics remains to be seen.

After spending a decade securing the necessary permits and permission from the state and Hawaii County — and surmounting legal challenges — the Thirty Meter Telescope’s partners have the legal right to proceed with a $1.4 billion project slated to put in operation the planet’s most advanced and largest optical telescope.

It was more than seven months ago — on July 10 — that Gov. David Ige announced that TMT construction, near Mauna Kea’s summit, would begin mid-month. It didn’t, of course. Instead, protesters blocked Mauna Kea Access Road until late December, when Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim negotiated the so-called two-month truce. Kim is now asking the TMT stakeholders to wait for two more months in hopes that additional time will help resolve controversy surrounding telescope construction. There’s scant evidence — in the public sphere, at least — that this tactic would yield anything more than more undue delay.

For astronomers representing various scientific institutions and nations, Mauna Kea is the place where the atmosphere is uniquely fit to study formation of galaxies at the edge of the observable universe. For many Native Hawaiians, the dormant volcano is an important place to connect with natural and spiritual worlds. It’s clear that both perspectives are grounded in reverence for the site. And it stands to reason that both Native Hawaiian culture and next-generation science could co-exist — collaborate, even — and thrive on Mauna Kea. But protest leaders, some exuding near-religious fervor, have dug into a divisive zero- sum stance.

While still weighing Kim’s request, TMT International Observatory’s board of directors issued a statement stressing that discussions with community members are continuing in an effort to find a “peaceful, lawful and non-violent way forward that honors and supports our scientific goals, environmental stewardship and the traditions and culture of Hawaii.” The University of Hawaii, which holds the lease on the 13-telescope science reserve near the 14,000-foot summit, has acknowledged past missteps in stewardship at the sensitive site — but also points to solid evidence of adhering to a correction course now for almost two decades. 

One protest leader, Andre Perez, said protesters would be open to a truce extension as long as it is not tied to construction, which they view as desecration. If this intractable position represents overall protest sentiment, is further discussion even an option?

Also, contributing to the stalemate is the governor’s tepid stance, which so far has fallen short of demonstrating firm support for TMT construction. Just before July 10, Ige had vowed state and county law enforcement would deal with any potential obstacles facing TMT work crews. The upshot? About $15 million already spent on law enforcement operations to cope with TMT protests — which, for the most part, have looked more like a sitting service than enforcement of the law. On Tuesday, the state House approved a draft of the new state operating budget that cut more than $65 million in funding that Ige had requested for law enforcement operations tasked with managing disturbances, including TMT protests.

It’s likely that some of that unpalatable sum will be restored before the Legislature wraps up in May. But, lawmakers should attach to whatever public funds are allocated a condition requiring reasonable enforcement of the law — in the case of the TMT project, this means no longer allowing protesters to illegally block the access road. Several months ago, Kim released a proposal titled “The Heart of Aloha, A Way Forward on Maunakea,” which offered up a set of sensible proposals for compromise. All involved would be wise to take another look now, as it’s apparent that the best path forward for Hawaii requires give and take.

Friday, February 21, 2020

The Grad Student Strike at Santa Cruz - Part 8

From Silicon Valley Business Journal, Jody Meacham, via UCOP Daily News Clips, 2-21-20

...Just before midnight tonight, an ultimatum from University of California President Janet Napolitano takes effect in an attempt to halt a wildcat strike by unionized graduate student teaching assistants at U.C. Santa Cruz who have been withholding grades or refusing to teach classes in an attempt to get housing assistance included in their compensation. Napolitano’s ultimatum, dated Feb. 14, warned the approximately 200 grad students, whose strike was not authorized by the United Auto Workers that represents them, that they face possible termination from their university employment at 11:59 p.m. today. 

U.C. Santa Cruz spokesman Scott Hernandez-Jason said in an email that about 90 percent of the grades have been posted by the grad students since Napolitano’s ultimatum.

LAO (As Usual) Says Legislature Should Control UC

This is the season in which - after the governor presented his budget proposal for 2020-21 - the legislature begins to hold hearings on various aspects of the proposal. Part of that process is the production of detailed analyses by the Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO).

Over the years, the LAO has pushed a general theme that the legislature should control what UC does in terms of tuition, enrollment, resident vs. nonresident students, etc. It does not put much weight on the constitutional autonomy of the Regents. (It tends to view CSU and UC as much the same, although CSU does not have constitutional authority.) It tends to criticize the governor for proposing budgetary allocations to UC without sufficient setting of goals. And it argues that UC admissions of resident students exceed the target of the top 12.5% of California students as embedded in the old Master Plan. (The notion of what 12.5% means in practice is inherently fuzzy unless you adopt some kind of SAT+GPA formula.)

In any event, the latest LAO critique of the governor's January budget proposal for UC follows the past pattern. You can read it at:

Note: The LAO also analyzes the governor's proposal for medical education at UC-Riverside and the proposed Fresno campus of UC-San Francisco. It follows the general theme above, i.e., that the legislature should exercise detailed control of enrollment, etc. See:

Thursday, February 20, 2020

The Grad Student Strike at Santa Cruz - Part 7 (International)

From KSBW: There's more potential fallout to the wildcat strike at UC Santa Cruz. It started in December when grad student teachers demanded a cost of living increase, but it's ramped up over the last week with strikers marking on the picket line. Now that move could have a much bigger impact on international students.

The UC Administration deadline is drawing closer to submit grades or face termination-that days is Friday at 11:59 p.m. American students probably can find new jobs but international students here with student visas are in a much different predicament. "I would say that of many people out here they have second even third jobs," said Stephen David Engel, a graduate student on strike.

Graduate student workers have refused to teach, hold office hours, conduct research or post grades. The University has placed a firm deadline for them to submit grades or face being fired. It's estimated there are about 30 international graduate students on the picket lines-and they don't know what their future is if the UC follows through with its threat.

"Student visas that a lot of International students are here on have limitations in terms of employment , so we're only allowed to work on campus and only 20 hours a week." said, Russian International grad student, Yulia Gilichiskay. "If we lose this job, we're not able to work in other places. We have to pay extra tuition . So for people like myself it would be a defacto deportation for most International Graduate students," said English international grad student, Tony Boardman.

The UCSC administration has also reminded international students that "participation" in a wildcat strike is not, in itself, a violation of their immigration status. However, any actions that result in subsequent discipline or arrest may have immigration consequences. A teaching assistant job isn't the only job available on campus. "It is unclear to us if terminating our academic employment would prevent us from applying for those jobs," said Gilichiskay.

Despite that the international students remain unified in their efforts to receive a cost of living raise. "I think a lot of International students are frightened but I think we stick together. The greatest safety we have in Striking International students is in numbers," said Boardman. If the international students are terminated or suspended they believe they have a 15 day grace period before they are required to leave the country. There are about 200 graduate students who have continued to withhold fall grades and have until 11:59 Friday night to turn them in.


Losing Face

From USA TodayA major California university has dropped plans to use facial recognition for the surveillance of the campus. 
The idea was to have the University of California Los Angeles use facial recognition as a way to gain access to buildings, to prove authenticity and to deny entry to people with restricted access to the campus, matching their faces against a database. Advocacy group Fight for the Future says UCLA was the first major university exploring using facial recognition to monitor students. 
The group had tested facial recognition software and found that "dozens" of student-athletes and professors were incorrectly matched with photos from a mug shot database, "and the overwhelming majority of those misidentified were people of color."
UCLA Vice Chancellor Michael Beck now says the school will not pursue the technology.
"We have determined that the potential benefits are limited and are vastly outweighed by the concerns of our campus community," UCLA said in a statement to USA TODAY...

No UC in State of the State

We had earlier alerted blog readers to Gov. Newsom's then-forthcoming State of the State address, which took place yesterday.* One possibility was that he would mention something about UC or higher ed. As readers will know, the Regents had a tuition increase item scheduled for action at their last meeting, but then withdrew it and postponed any action until a later date. The governor might have reacted - but he didn't. In fact, in contrast to his prior State of the State in which he discussed virtually everything to the point where he was criticized for not setting priorities, this time he discussed only homelessness.

An annotated version of his speech can be found at:

So this time around, he does have a priority. But UC and higher ed ain't it.


Wednesday, February 19, 2020


From an email circulated by the Anderson School:

Employees often have what seem to be good reasons for sharing a password. Password sharing makes it easier for multiple users to access a team account. Leaving a password on a sticky note under a keyboard allows a co-worker to log in to a business account in an emergency when the owner is out of the office. Managers share passwords so they can delegate tasks. Nevertheless, however well-intended, password sharing is a substantial security threat to Anderson.
Password integrity is one of the foundational elements of security practices here at Anderson. Password sharing is a violation of UCLA Policy 403.* Additionally, it is a violation of UCOP Standard SC-0010.** Passwords are access keys that help to prove you are who you say you are, and help to ensure your privacy. Compromised passwords provide access to systems for unauthorized personnel.
Here are other ways to help make your digital life more secure.¹
  1. Use different passwords for different accounts. That way, if one account is compromised, at least the others won’t be at risk.
  2. Use multi-factor authentication (MFA). Even the best passwords have limits. Multi-Factor Authentication adds another layer of protection in addition to your username and password. Generally, the additional factor is a token or a mobile phone app that you would use to confirm that you really are trying to log in.
  3. Length trumps complexity. The longer a password or passphrase is, the better. Strong passwords/passphrases are 10-64 characters in length.
  4. Make passwords that are hard to guess but easy to remember. To make passwords easier to remember, use sentences or phrases. For example, “breadandbutteryum”. Some systems will even let you use spaces: “bread and butter yum”. Avoid single words, or a word preceded or followed by a single number (e.g. Password1). Hackers will use dictionaries of words and commonly used passwords to guess your password. Don’t use information in your password that others might know about you or that’s in your social media (e.g. birthdays, children’s or pet’s names, car model, etc.). If your friends can find it, so will hackers.
  5. Complexity still counts. To increase complexity, include upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters. A password should use at least 3 of these choices. To make the previous example more secure: “Bread & butter YUM!”

The Grad Student Strike at Santa Cruz - Part 6

Note: See our comment at the bottom of this posting.

UC Santa Cruz grad students still on strike in shadow of firing threat

By Elaine Ingalls | Santa Cruz Sentinel | February 18, 2020

UC Santa Cruz grad students and faculty are responding to an ultimatum issued by UC President Janet Napolitano Friday to submit their grades or risk being fired. Graduate students continued their wildcat strike Tuesday morning in front of the UCSC main entrance, an action rising from a months long campaign for a cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, in the form of a substantial raise for teaching assistants who say they cannot afford the cost of living in Santa Cruz.

Graduate students held a press conference Tuesday morning at the main entrance of the UCSC campus. Will Parrish, a graduate student studying the History of Consciousness, attended the press conference. Parrish said he has also been coordinating media outreach and communication on the strike. He said three graduate students and a faculty member spoke about their financial struggles and support of the strike.

“People are outraged, I’d say generally,” Parrish said. “I think that a lot of people feel determined… to continue and withstand these attempts to break the strike before we get what we need, which is a cost-of-living-adjustment.” Later Tuesday morning, Parrish taught a “Know Your Rights” training on the meadow near the campus entrance, teaching students their civil rights and liberties in situations such as a strike. He said other students have been teaching classes on the history of activism on the UC Santa Cruz Campus.

The press conference comes after Napolitano issued a letter Friday to faculty, staff and students at UCSC. In the letter, Napolitano informed the university that UC respects its labor unions and unionized workers and has offered benefits to Teaching Assistants in a collective bargaining agreement effective through June 30, 2022. These benefits include a waiver of tuition, a $300 campus fee remission, a 3% annual wage increase comparable to other university employees and more. Napolitano also said in the letter that teaching assistants could be fired for participating in the wildcat strike.

“Holding undergraduate grades hostage and refusing to carry out contracted teaching responsibilities is the wrong way to go,” Napolitano stated in the letter. “Therefore, participation in the wildcat strike will have consequences, up to and including the termination of existing employment at the University.”

Interim Campus Provost/Executive Vice Chancellor Lori Kletzer also issued a letter Friday to UCSC faculty, stating that students will have until 11:59 p.m. Friday to submit all missing grades, to end the strike and fulfill the obligations of their contracts.* If they do not submit full grade information by then, they won’t receive spring quarter teaching appointments or will be dismissed from them...

Full story at:

*Letter fro VC Kletzer below:

Graduate student strike update

To: UC Santa Cruz Faculty

From: Interim Campus Provost/Executive Vice Chancellor Lori Kletzer

February 14, 2020

Over my nearly 28 years of affiliation with UC Santa Cruz, I have never lost the inspiration I feel over the promise and potential of this campus, the accomplishments of our faculty, and our collective dedication to the teaching, research, and public service mission. The grading, and now teaching, strike disrupts our educational mission and imposes costs on students, particularly our undergraduate students. At this difficult moment for our campus, we may disagree about tactics and approach; however, we all agree that the motivating issues are real and felt by many.

The housing crisis is complex, systemic, and at the same time, deeply personal for many. There are no easy answers and in so many ways it is a challenge that is larger than our community. We have struggled with this challenge almost as long as I have been on this campus, at times with more success than others.

Where we differ, however, is in the approach to solve this problem. Our graduate student instructors and teaching assistants have chosen to ignore their own union and to strike, demanding a significant increase to their existing, union-negotiated compensation package, an increase that they have characterized as a cost of living adjustment.

Recognizing the short-term challenge to housing, Chancellor Larive announced two new programs to provide doctoral and MFA students with greater financial security and predictability, at a cost of approximately $7 million per year.

  • Beginning in fall 2020, we will offer new and continuing doctoral students support packages for five years (two years for MFA students). These packages will have a minimum level of support equivalent to that of a 50 percent teaching assistantship.
  • Second, until more graduate student housing becomes available, a need-based, annual housing supplement of $2,500 for doctoral and MFA students offered through a partnership between the Financial Aid Office and the Graduate Division.

Despite this overture that provides significant improvement in financial support, the grading strike did not come to an end, but escalated to a full teaching strike. And while I understand the drivers, I do not support the approach. Moreover, and more importantly, the approach taken by our striking graduate student employees is having a significant negative impact on the emotional well-being and academic success of our undergraduate students, our dedicated staff who have gone above and beyond to mitigate the consequences, and the very mission of our campus.

I have met with graduate student activists on several occasions to explore ways in which we could have a substantive conversation and discuss how we can support them beyond the programs that we have already announced and which, I believe, substantially improves their financial security and ability to plan.

Despite these efforts, our students continue to strike. They continue to refuse to provide grade information for the fall quarter. And they continue to interrupt the very programs that change the lives of our undergraduate students. Given this unwillingness to de-escalate and come together, I share with you here a difficult next step that our campus must take.

Today, all students who have continued to withhold fall grades will be informed that they have until 11:59 p.m. on Friday, February 21 to submit all missing grades, to end the strike and to fulfill their contractual obligations. We are giving these students one final opportunity to fulfill their teaching responsibilities and show that they can fulfill future responsibilities. Those who do not submit full grade information by February 21 will not receive spring quarter appointments or will be dismissed from their spring quarter appointments.

As faculty members, I urge you to speak with your TAs and advisees and encourage them to stop their unsanctioned strike and to submit the missing grades. I understand the close bond you have with your students, the promise they represent as scholars and practitioners, the vital role they play in supporting our educational mission, and I hope you will be able to discuss with them that returning to work is in their own personal and professional interests and is in the best interests of all our students. I acknowledge and thank you for supporting our students and engaging in what are very difficult conversations.

This is not a step we have taken lightly. Contingency plans will be developed to mitigate the issues this will create once we understand who has returned to work and who has not. I understand that this is going to result in challenges but believe at this point, it is our best option.

I trust soon we can get back to our shared academic purpose—teaching and research. I sincerely hope that most, if not all, of our TAs decide to re-join us in this vital endeavor.

As we have noted in prior postings, there are ways out of this dilemma. Maybe the threat of firing will work. But UC-Santa Cruz administration has to ask itself who will do the grading if  the threat doesn't work and the TAs are fired. The parent union - which officially hasn't endorsed the strike (and would face potential legal issues were it to do so) - needs to ask itself what will happen in future negotiations if it appears it cannot live up to its contractual obligations, including the no-strike clause. At that point, possibly with a mediator, a deal could be worked out which can be said not to reopen the contract but - at the same time - provides something tangible to strikers.