In the spirit of self-care and community healing practices, Workers Against the University at UCLA announces Statewide Slap-A-Regent Week! From here on out whatever week in November contains the 17th, 18th, 19th, and 20th will be Slap-A-Regent week! If those dates overlap two different work weeks then November becomes Statewide Slap-A-Regent Month!
We spend so much of our time in meetings, setting up tables, responding to emails, doing work that is often thankless and difficult with only dim hopes that it will pay off. We have to face police and supervisors of all kinds, “comrades” and “allies” who are really neither.
We have to explain to families who often don’t or can’t understand that we’re not focused on our studies because we’re protecting the school, and protecting them from costs – costs that they may already be working hard to help pay. We find ourselves in irreconcilable dilemmas of all kinds and we expect ourselves to endure and often we only stop when we’ve been destroyed or burnt out to the point we no longer have the option continuing.
We do it at the expense of our time, of our other priorities, and of our bodies. But during Slap-A-Regent Week you can do it at the expense of a Regent’s body!
Let go of those toxic assumptions that dialogue matters or that common ground can be found! Do you think they are going to tell their kids or grandkids, “Sorry little Teagan and Tyler. I know I promised you cars for your birthdays and a Hawaiian vacation but that’s all off now as we won’t have the extra money. I’m part of a community now. No not the country club, a new one. One I was always part of but didn’t realize it… until a rag-tag group of students came and opened my eyes – and my heart.”
Not gonna happen. So why carry that weight around? Why be part of that denial? Feeling your real pain is a necessary part of healing. Your pain is real and your life is real. Don’t negate your own existence by hiding from it. Let the pain, and the hatred, flow through you. Don’t internalize that anger, externalize it! Slap the first Regent you come across.
For that matter, let go of your toxic assumptions about direct action and that campaigns can be sustained to force these people to do what we want. Sure, that’s the kind of thing we at Workers Against the University are generally in favor of. But you deserve a vacation from all of that. Treat yourself. When it’s all said and done do you want to be sitting around having never gotten revenge?
Have your cake and eat it too.
But it’s about more than just healing and revenge! It’s about history as well!
November 18th, 2009: Students convene on Covel Commons at UCLA to attempt to stop the Regents from raising tuition 32%. Students rally, give public comment, commit civil disobedience, are arrested and then try to storm police barricades. Students are tazed and pepper sprayed by UCPD to protect the meeting. That night, students begin the occupation of Campbell Hall. Other students camp on the lawn of Wilson Plaza as buses from across the UC arrive.
November 19th, 2009: The UC Regents vote to raise tuition 32%. Students organize an illegal march, stage a die-in, and ultimately trap the UC Regents in Covel Commons and parking structures for hours after they make their vote. UCPD tazes, pepper-sprays, and hits many students with billy clubs and fists during the day’s events.
November 20th, 2009: In response to the tuition hikes, students at UC Berkeley (some just returning from the actions at UCLA) begin an occupation at Wheeler Hall which, among responses at other campuses, helps to signal that students will continue to fight.
November 17th, 2010: Students rally and attempt to block a vote at UCSF, where Regents are voting to raise tuition eight percent and cut campus worker pensions. UCI’s police officer Kemper pulls a gun on student protesters.
November 17th, 2011: Students at UC Davis and UCLA set up outdoor occupations on their respective campuses. At UCLA, Wilson Plaza is renamed “Angela Davis Plaza.
November 18th, 2011: UCPD with backup from LAPD and Culver City PD surround Occupy UCLA at approximately 5:20AM, having equipped themselves with riot gear and assault weapons. Students are forced to evacuate as there is no crowd of support at this time in the morning, no media, and no way the police could be held accountable for whatever additional force they use. Students are told that linking of arms will be considered a violence against police and will be met with violence. A few hours later, Occupy UC Davis will be assaulted by UCPD leading to the now infamous pepper spraying of activists who had linked arms by Officer Pike. Students surround UCPD’s assault unit and force police off campus. In the aftermath, UC management obscures their statewide policy of responding to linked arms with violence and allows the media and students to pin blame on Pike.
November 20th, 2013: In response to abuses of their rights and in the context of attacks on their wages, pensions, and seniority campus workers represented by AFSCME 3299 go on strike against UC management. Graduate students, teaching assistants, readers, and tutors represented by UAW 2865 go on strike and stage actions in solidarity with AFSCME and in the context of their own struggle to prevent more management takebacks and assaults.
November 19th, 2014: Students from across the state mass at UCSF to prevent a proposed 27.5% hike, to take place over the next five years. Students attempt direct actions to block UC management from attending the meeting. Police intervene and escort managers into the meeting. Students attempt to enter meeting and met with violence by UCPD. Police shatter a door in their attempt to keep students out of management’s meeting. The Finance Committee recommends that the UC Regents adopt the tuition hike proposal.
So commemorate your struggle, your history, and yourself by allowing yourself to Slap-a-Regent. You deserve it (and so do they)!