UC Santa Cruz grad students strike for higher pay, saying they can't afford rent
At least 17 people were arrested this week and picketing continued Friday as part of a wildcat strike by UC Santa Cruz graduate student workers who are demanding higher pay because they are overburdened by high housing costs.
During the strike, which began Monday, graduate student workers have refused to teach, hold office hours, conduct research or post grades. They are demanding an increase in pay of $1,412 per month to cover their rent.
The average teaching assistant’s monthly salary is $2,400 a month. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Santa Cruz is $2,600 a month, according to RentCafe.
Demonstrations were held at the school’s main entrance Friday, although no one has been arrested since Wednesday, said UC Santa Cruz spokesman Scott Hernandez-Jason.
The arrests came after police said students blocked an intersection near campus and ignored repeated orders to disperse. Police surrounded demonstrators sitting in circles in the intersection with their arms linked and dragged them away one by one.
Those arrested face charges including unlawful assembly, obstructing a public roadway and disobeying a lawful order, Hernandez-Jason said. All but one were cited and released.
“Officers repeatedly tried to de-escalate the situation and made clear that blocking this major roadway had to stop or it would lead to arrest,” Hernandez-Jason said in a statement. “Demonstrators locked arms, sat in the roadway, and refused to move back onto the university field.”
“While we understand the frustration about housing costs in Santa Cruz, we also have responsibilities to the ...
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