The Department of Communication at the University of California, San Diego has a long history of student-centered education that attends closely to the lived conditions of everyday life. Formed in 1970 in response to student demands for a curriculum focused on the critical appraisal of media industries and representations, our department is committed to pursuing justice for vulnerable and marginalized communities who disproportionately face threats to their lives and to their livelihoods. We aim to promote a society in which all people enjoy equal access to basic needs (including housing, sustenance, education, and health care), to safety, and to freedom in all of its forms.
As faculty in Communication, we are deeply concerned with the situation faced by many University of California graduate student workers, whose wages have not kept up with cost-of-living inflation across California. We have heard too many stories of students unable to cover their rent, and/or skipping expensive medication/medical treatment, and/or relying on area food banks for daily meals. These are not the conditions in which students are best able to learn, or in which student teachers are best able to teach. We are outraged by the firing of graduate student workers at UC Santa Cruz, an action that exacerbates the problem, rather than seeking productively and proactively to alleviate it. We call on administrative leaders – at both the campus and the system-wide level – to act quickly and decisively to find solutions to the unreasonable conditions in which graduate students are being expected to live and work.
The Department of Communication will not retaliate against graduate student workers who choose to participate in COLA-related actions. We will actively resist attempts to eliminate or restrict future teaching appointments for graduate student workers participating in such actions. We are opposed to threats and intimidation, including forms of surveillance and police intervention, used against graduate students. We will continue to work to build a university in which all students are able to pursue their educational and research goals without struggling to meet their basic needs.