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Classes to remain online on Thursday and Friday due to ongoing campus protests at UC Santa Cruz

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (KION-TV)- UPDATE ON MAY 22, 2024 AT 10:28 AM- UC Santa Cruz announced on Wednesday that classes will remain online due to ongoing campus protests on Thursday and Friday.

University Chancellor Cynthia Levine said on the university's website that classes will remain online for the rest of the week in full recognition of the impact on many aspects of instruction,

The exceptions for remote classes include classes that are held remotely, classes held at the Coastal Science campus and Silicon Valley Campus and previously arranged field classes.

Levine also said that most academic buildings will remain closed for the rest of the week but the libraries will remain open for the rest of the week.

Classes have been moved online since Tuesday due to the Pro-Palestinian Strike that started on May 1. Graduate student workers who are part of the UAW 4811 joined the strike on Monday.

The encampment moved from Quarry Plaza to an area near the Barn Theater.

Levine said they will provide guidance about instruction and campus operations for next week on Friday.

UC Santa Cruz moves classes online on Tuesday and Wednesday due to campus protests

Written by KTVU staff

UPDATE ON MAY 21, 2024 AT 12:48 P.M.-  Pro-Palestinian students and staff who blocked the roads to the UC Santa Cruz campus on Monday prompted the chancellor to announce that classes would be remote on Tuesday and Wednesday.

In an announcement posted on the university's website, Chancellor Cynthia Levine said that the "difficult decision" was made after "disruptions" and blocked roads.

Monday marked the first day of a UAW strike. Roughly 2,000 graduate student workers walked off their jobs, protesting the UC system's recent crackdown on pro-Palestinian demonstrations on campuses across the state.

The walkout involved teaching assistants, researchers and other academic workers.

UC administrators said these graduate students are in violation of a no-strike clause in their contract.

In addition, the chancellor said that a pro-Palestinian tent encampment that was previously in the Quarry Plaza has moved to an area near the Barn Theater.

Levine said that the university has told those in the tents to "disband this second unlawful encampment. Failure to do so may result in discipline." 

UC Santa Cruz graduate student workers join Pro-Palestinian strike over UC's handling of Gaza protests

On Monday- UC Santa Cruz graduate workers from the United Auto Workers 4811 joined the Pro-Palestinian strikes.

This comes in response to violent acts from multiple UC Campus Police Departments when engaging with peaceful protesters on campuses.

Dozens of people stood in front of the UC Santa Cruz campus's main entrance on Monday morning holding up signs reading 'UAW on strike.'

The International Union United Automobile Aerospace and Agriculture Implementation Workers of America, or UAW, represents academic student employees, post-doctoral scholars and academic researchers.

"In response to, peaceful protest by workers demanding changes in their workplace, the UC responded with violent force," said Jacob Fontana, UC Santa Cruz Graduate Student Worker. "You know, workers were brutally attacked by the police,"

Strikers say when faced with non-violent protests by academic workers, the UC system has mishandled and escalated the situation by taking unlawful actions that have impacted bargaining agreements.

Some of the unlawful claims by protesters include allowing violent attacks on peaceful protesters by police, making changes to work conditions, and punishing employees when engaging in the protests.

"You're not protecting, and you're not protecting our right to peacefully gather and to protest and to, call for an end to that. So you're not protecting our rights," said Tiffany Worthington, Graduate from UCSC.

In response, the union has filed unfair labor practice charges against the UC.

"The university has, I think, arguably committed some unfair labor practices here around their messaging about the strike," said Fontana. "This morning they canceled or moved all classes, remotely without consulting with, the union or properly notifying workers."

The University of California says it's also filed an unfair labor practice with the state public employment relations board – asking the state to order UAW 411 to cease and desist strike activity.

In a statement from UC Santa Cruz, they say, "Our primary goal is to minimize the disruptive impact, especially given the many educational and research challenges that have affected students and researchers in recent years."

"I'm hoping that, you know, the UC stops with the violent repression and, you know, makes all the losses that workers have suffered," said Fontana.

In a statement from Melissa Matella, associate vice president for systemwide labor relations it says,
“We respect and value a productive working relationship with our labor unions. We collaborate regularly to reach mutually beneficial agreements around employment terms. We have and continue to hope that UAW will honor the terms of our contracts.”

UC Santa Cruz moves classes online for the rest of the week due to campus protests

Crews could be soon cleaning up damage and graffiti on building on campus. 

Stores like Express and Bay Tree Bookstore still closed. 

Today, both chancellor decided to continue remote instruction for Thursday and Friday this week. protesters blocked the public road adjacent to campus Wednesday.

Students say they understand why this is happening, but are not excited about doing their classes online.  

“I support the strike and what they're fighting for, but it’s inconvenient to have our classes online, but I understand why that is happening," a second year at UCSC Lea Janway said.

“It’s hard to keep track of everything, all the notifications from my teachers trying to keep stuff going online, i’m used to it from Covid and during the pandemic, but it is definitely a transition," a first year at UCSC William Davis said.

The encampment was previously held in the Quarry Plaza and has now moved to an area near the Barn Theater, adjacent to the busy intersection at the entrance of campus.

“I think the encampment is very welcoming and a positive community," a second year at UCSC Divija Keswani said. " I like to go and sit at the encampment sometimes, it’s a comforting community to be around people that also support the cause.” 

In a statement from the Assistant and Vice Chancellor, "today, some students and employees blocked both roads on campus and the campus entrance, preventing access to campus and requiring transition to remote work and learning.”

The university spoke on the plans for commencement. KION is told they are continuing with their announced plans.

The UCSC says it has directed those at the second encampment to disband. Failure to do so may result in discipline.

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Dania Romero

Dania Romero is an reporter at KION News Channel 46.

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