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“This is our movement.”

November 21, 2011, 8:15 pm

Nick Perrone is a PhD candidate in the Department of History at UC Davis. This is the speech that he gave on the Quad earlier today.

My name is Nick Perrone and I am a graduate student in the history department here at UC Davis. I am also the recording secretary for the UAW Local 2865, the union that represents the majority of graduate student employees across the UC system. So I am a student here, I am a worker here, and I am a union representative for my colleagues across campus, and I want to make a couple quick points.

First of all, the movement to occupy the Quad here at UC Davis is not an attempt to replicate Occupy Wall Street or any other movement. Students here at UC Davis and at universities across the country have been occupying administrative buildings and open spaces in response to injustices both on and off university campuses for decades. Chancellor Katehi has worked hard to try and characterize this current occupation as being influenced by “non-UC Davis affiliated individuals.” Let me be clear, THIS IS OUR MOVEMENT. Look around you, these are UC Davis students, faculty members and workers. Chancellor Katehi, just because our movement is growing, that does not mean that it must be the result of some outside influence, some “rogue element”. You and the regents that you work for have provided the fuel that drives the movement that you see today.

The second point that I want to make is that the police brutality we have witnessed over the past two weeks at Cal State Long Beach, UC Berkeley, and UC Davis is only a symptom of the privatization of these universities. Chancellors Katehi and Birgeneau want safe and inviting spaces on campus, but not for students, for private companies and corporations. When they suppress dissent on our campuses it is in the interest of privatization and clearly not student safety. We must be careful not to treat the symptom alone, but attack the disease itself, the disease of privatization.

Chancellor Katehi, we will not allow you, President Yudoff, the regents or anyone else to strangle the students at this university with debt and mediocrity while you simultaneously direct police to suffocate any remaining dissent. It is clear to us that you are no longer an advocate, you are no longer an ally. We need a chancellor who will stand with students against police violence. Our struggle is not your struggle. We want the rich to pay their fair share. We want to lower tuition, not raise it. We want to end the privatization of our university. And we want to stop the use of police to remove peaceful protesters on college campuses. Chancellor Katehi, you have lost the confidence of the students, the faculty and the workers on this campus and it’s time for you to go.

Sometimes you learn from your students rather than teaching them.

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