UC Santa Cruz fired 54 graduate student workers who were on strike demanding higher pay to afford the area’s high cost of living.
As part of a “wildcat strike,” about 200 teaching assistants decided in December to withhold fall quarter grades after months of back and forth with campus administrators. They demanded an increase in pay of $1,412 a month. The strike is not backed by the union that represents the university’s graduate student employees.
Tension between student workers, the campus and University of California administrators heightened dramatically in recent weeks as negotiations floundered.Students escalated the grade strike in early February to a full work stoppage, refusing to teach, hold office hours, conduct research or post grades. Seventeen students were arrested at a campus protest Feb. 12, and UC Santa Cruz and the UC presidentpublished a series of letters online over the last month warning student workers they would be disciplined if they failed to submit grades.
On Monday, UC Santa Cruz told teaching assistants it would check for the withheld grades later in the week. The campus sent letters of intent to dismiss Friday around noon to 54 students. About 30 other students who had yet to secure spring teaching jobs were told they would not be eligible for the positions, student activists said.
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