Updated: Mar 3
COLA for All
Digital Print, 2020 San Diego, CA
As the cost of living continues to increase throughout the country and the economic pressure is felt in our everyday lives, students at the University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC) started a wildcat strike* to demand a cost of living increase (COLA). Since December 2019, students have been taking actions and escalating their tactics as their demands continue to go unmet.
Police responded to their most recent act of civil disobedience with violence, and arrested 17 students. Graduate Student Association co-president Yulia Gilichinskaya, one of the student protesters, said, “Instead of taking our demands seriously and actually delivering on them, they are spending money busing in police from out of town to brutalize and arrest students.”
The graduate student workers are demanding a monthly increase of $1,412 to help cover the cost of rent in Santa Cruz, which averages to $2,600 for a one-bedroom apartment. The average teaching assistant’s salary is $2,400 a month. Santa Cruz is the least affordable city in California—even worse than San Francisco.
Approximately 350 students are participating in the strike at UCSC with more joining in solidarity at different universities across the state, including UC Santa Barbara, San Diego, Los Angeles, Davis, and Berkeley.
*A wildcat strike is a strike that is not endorsed by the union representing the students.