COLA Statement in Solidarity

Endorsed by Cloyne Council on 3/8/2020, 36 in favor, 0 opposed, 1 abstaining

To Chancellor Christ and UC Board of Regents,

Several months ago, graduate students at UC Santa Cruz and across the UC system began making demands for a COLA (cost of living adjustment). As students of UC Berkeley and members of Cloyne Court (a Berkeley Student Cooperative house), we write this letter in collective solidarity with all graduate students fighting for a living wage adjustment. In an area in which the cost of housing has soared and thus become unattainable for so many low-income people and racial minorities, we stand united as one in support of all graduate students, faculty, staff, and community members committed to striking for a COLA. As members of a tenant-owned housing cooperative, we know that the unsustainable market rate does not reflect the true cost of maintaining housing, but is instead the result of speculation-driven profiteering. We know that paying graduate students a living wage is only a drop in the bucket of the overall UC budget, and we reject the notion that the money is not there.

On Friday, March 6, Chancellor Christ wrote a letter to the graduate student community in which she expressed an unwillingness to concede to the demands for a COLA for all. Chancellor Christ’s message to the graduate student community was inadequate, given her refusal to acknowledge the basic needs of graduate students in addition to her failure to disclose how the UC has come to this decision. We believe that her response that the university has plans to build an additional 105 bed-spaces over several years is insulting to all students, especially given that there are at least 12,000 graduate students on campus. We therefore ask that the UC negotiate with student-workers in good faith to 1.) provide a COLA for every graduate student, regardless of residence, visa, documentation, employment, or funding status, without raising tuition or campus fees; 2.) reinstate the employment contracts of all graduate students at UCSC and drop all threats of retaliation; 3.) agree to the demands of COLA organizers to ensure that all students at UC Berkeley and beyond basic needs are met, including but not limited to shelter and food; 4.) demilitarize, disarm, and defund the campus police.


Cloyne Court

BSC Housing Cooperative

Leave a Reply