We are confronted by the corporate takeover of our education. The cost of school rises indefinitely while we, burdened by crushing debt, graduate into a jobless market with few chances to prosper and repay our loans. As our universities are privatized, the economy stagnates, and tuition rises, more and more young people are left either with an education they cannot pay for or no education at all.
To rebuild institutions of higher learning that serve students first, we need to restore a political system that is of, by, and for the people. We need to get corporate power and money out of our democracy. The student occupations at campuses across our country, organized in solidarity with Occupy Wall St., have provided youth with the space to begin solving the crises of our corporatized democracy.
Yet, the recent attacks on peaceful UC Berkeley student and faculty protesters by riot police and UCPD threaten this new and incredibly important movement on college campuses and severely undermine both the Constitution and our democracy. The arrests of UCLA students and the pepper spraying of nonviolent protesters at UC Davis that have followed reveal a deeply undemocratic pattern of abusive policing. An assault on one young person’s right to free speech and assembly is an assault on all young peoples’ rights, and a repeated pattern of assault stifles the ability of young people to solve our nation's challenges. As educational institutions allow violent attacks on our fellow brothers and sisters, we are unified in our pledge to nonviolence.
We declare solidarity with UC Berkeley, UC Davis, and all students and faculty who are exercising their right to peaceably assemble and to protest. We will deliver this emergency petition to UC President Mark Yudof on Wednesday, November 30th.1,650 signatures
To University of California President Mark Yudof,
Students at UC Berkeley have been violently attacked and arrested by riot police multiple times. More recently, riot police pepper sprayed UC Davis students directly in the face and throat, simply for engaging in nonviolent protest. As young Americans and students who are also deeply concerned about extreme inequality in our nation, and the control of our democracy by the wealth and power of the 1%, we declare that we are all Berkeley and we are all Davis. We demand the University of California schools unequivocally protect students’ First Amendment rights and ensure that there will be no further aggressive repression of student acts of free speech, nonviolent protest, and peaceable assembly. In this time of crisis in our country, university and college campuses must be a place where critical thinking, public debate, and peaceful protest are not repressed but supported and encouraged.