SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (KION) UC Santa Cruz is issuing updates on traffic as graduate students begin their escalated strike.
As of 2:20 p.m., traffic is diverted away from the main entrance at Bay and High streets because of picketers in the intersection.
As of 1:27 p.m., the university said drivers should expect congestion on Bay Street, High Street and Empire Grade.
As of 1:10 p.m., the university said traffic to the main entrance is diverted because there are picketers in the road and that drivers should avoid that entrance.
Earlier in the morning, campus entrances were open, but buses were not crossing the picket lines. Four afternoon bike shuttles will be canceled.
The university said Undergraduate Admissions, athletic facilities, the bookstore, dining halls, the McHenry Library, the Science and Engineering Library, Student Health Services and the parking services sales office are open as usual Monday. The University Center coffee bar will be closing at 2 p.m.
Find the latest traffic updates here.
Monday marks the start of an open-ended labor strike organized by some UCSC graduate students. The students said they will not be teaching, grading, holding office hours or conducting research as they demand a cost-of-living adjustment.
The University said campus leaders have been communicating with the leaders of the Graduate Student Association and have offered programs to help students struggling financially, but students participating in the strike said the programs are "absurdly inadequate" in a statement announcing the escalation.
Students are claiming school administrators have threatened retaliation. Strikers say university officials are threatening to fire all students who are withholding transcripts from undergraduate students as part of the strike.
"I've heard of people's sections being cancelled for grad students striking," said Ian Anderson, a UCSC undergraduate student. "And I haven't had my grades released yet, but I understand the purpose, so it's not really something I'm against."
"Yeah, I'm scared of getting fired. I cannot afford to. But also I cannot afford staying hired for what they're paying me," said Yulia Gilichinskaya, a graduate student rally organizer.
On Tuesday, the Santa Cruz City Council will vote on a motion to have the Mayor write university administration acknowledging how difficult it is for graduate students to live in an area where the cost of rent outstrips their salaries. It would also show support for the strike and call for immediate resolution.
The strike is unsanctioned by the union that represents the graduate students. The university said it does not have the authority to change contracts with the union that are already agreed-upon.