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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

All Cloyne members can post on the Cloyne blog

Hello world! I’m the Cloyne network coordinator. Like most co-op manager/coordinator positions, the role of network coordinator is really about being a steward of resources, not a manager of people. With the exception of Board Directors, co-op managers are not political representatives, nor are we part of “the management” in the traditional sense – we are elected to carry out specific responsibilities determined by the members.

As network coordinator, my housemates have empowered me to make sure the internet works, to keep the servers running so that all members can use and benefit from the services we host, and to provide education so that other members can get hands-on educational experience with out network infrastructure.

Exercising editorial discretion over the content of the Cloyne blog, however, is not within the scope of what my housemates have empowered me to do. This is why I refused a request from a BSC employee to remove a post publicizing a memorandum endorsed by members as an official act of Council. Instead of removing the post, I’ve helped other coordinators to redact the name of the staff member who resigned, and taken steps to ensure that Google’s cache updated to reflect this. I am also making this post to clarify how the blog works.

Cloyne’s network infrastructure and web services are an important part of our academic theme, and I am proud to be a steward of those resources in the specific context of an academic-themed cooperative. That’s why I have chosen to continue the long-standing practice of creating accounts for all Cloyne members right when they move in, at the same time as I add them to the mailing list. Other examples of posts made by members include a recipe for beans and rice, a tutorial for Cloyne’s online council tool, an editorial about “Cloyne is Suck” (a phrase with a contested place in Cloyne lore), and a story about a Cloyne mural‘s original creator coming back 30 years later to touch it up.

In addition, the Cloyne blog has a shared account that any member can use to post anonymously. Posts with the author Cloyne Cloaca, are from this shared account. Like all cooperatively-controlled resources, the Cloyne Cloaca account belongs to the membership, and it is up to each member to be cooperative in how they use that resource.

Each coordinator email also has an account, and posts made from those accounts (such as this one) represent that coordinator’s views as a coordinator, but do not have to go through council and therefore do not necessarily represent the house as a whole. The only body empowered to speak for Cloyne as a whole, is Cloyne Council.

Nothing on the blog should be considered to represent Cloyne as a whole unless it is noted in council minutes. We are in the process of making all of our minutes available online in a single location, If you are looking for minutes from a particular council that have not been posted there, please reach out to the Cloyne Secretary at

Apply to be Cloyne’s next Facilities Manager!

Note: This post was written collectively after council authorized a press release for the Cloyne blog. It was posted from the admin account because it had multiple authors and was specifically authorized by council.

To BSC members, past and present, and the broader cooperative community:

We are making this post to encourage any and all cooperatively-minded applicants to apply by the deadline of June 17 for the position of Cloyne Facilities Manager (FM). We also hope to provide an update and assuage any concerns that our previous posts may have created in the minds of potential applicants.

Cloyne’s Cooperative Identity

In May, an absolute majority of the house’s 140 members voted to approve a memorandum that, in part, spelled out some of our cooperative values:

  • We affirmed that a cooperative thrives when its members, managers, and staff live and work collaboratively and in good faith with one another (Memorandum, affirmation 1)
  • We affirmed that in member cooperatives such as Cloyne and the BSC, we democratically create our own policy and bylaws, complete with various collectively established channels for resolving disputes. (Memorandum, affirmation 3/4)
  • We collectively committed to honor these policies, which are the product of a transparent, cooperative, and democratic process. (Memorandum, affirmation 4).
  • We affirmed our desire “to conduct our house in a habitable, cooperative, and loving manner”

With regards to the role of the Cloyne Facilities Manager (FM) — a professional staff member who resides full-time on the premises of Cloyne Court — we affirmed our belief “that a full-time staff member can and has been beneficial to the managers and members of Cloyne,” and expressed our desire “to cultivate a healthy and communicative relationship”. We affirmed not only “our continued willingness to work with [the FM] in a friendly and cooperative manner”, but also “our support against any retaliation [the FM] might face from [their] supervisors as a result” of adhering to the cooperatively expressed democratic will of the cooperative’s members.

Context for Facilities Manager Vacancy

You may have heard that Cloyne’s previous FM resigned shortly after Cloyne approved and published this memo. The May memorandum also laid out a history of uncooperative actions, with an invitation for the responsible professional managers to join us in affirming some baseline commitments for good-faith cooeperation moving forward. Two and a half weeks after sending the Memorandum, we received the news that the FM had resigned, as well as a lengthy email to all Cloyne members from the BSC’s Executive Director, Kim Benson

Based on this response, as well as several house-level managers’ attempts at dialogue with all of the outgoing FM’s supervisors, we have come to the conclusion that job descriptions and directives promulgated by the FM’s supervisors, which were inconsistent with BSC’s existing policies, bylaws, and mission, are substantially to blame for the FM’s lack of responsiveness to our attempts to resolve issues at the house level. We do not ultimately blame employees for actions undertaken due to perceived economic coercion from their supervisors. As such, we have redacted all references to the name of the outgoing Facilities Manager in the public version of our Memo, to clarify the structural nature of our criticisms and to avoid harming her future job prospects.

Facilities Manager Job Description

Like all job ads, the job ad put out by senior management is only a paraphrasing of a longer description. The official job ad contains the correct instructions for how to apply. However, the title and text of the ad depart in significant and troubling ways from the actual job description as delineated in official BSC policy. The job title “Resident and Facilities Manager” (rather than “Facilities Manager” or even “Residence and Facilities Manager”) mirrors the subtle subversions, additions, and omissions of duties to suggest that the person in this position enforces whatever their supervisors order them to. — rather than work with student-members in accordance with the BSC’s mission, its purposes, and the Rochdale Principles.

A few members requested that the ad be brought more in line with policy, that the application deadline be extended, and that Cloyne’s Board Reps be involved in these parts of the hiring process. Kim refused to do any of these things. So it is only after exhausting attempts to resolve the matter in private that we are resorting to publishing this post. With it, we wish to inform potential applicants for Cloyne’s Facilities Manager position of what policy says about the position and its duties. In the following image, you can see the ad with the extra language added by Senior Management struck through. The text in green is taken from the description in policy, which is the description applicants can expect to be held to, and is consistent with Cloyne’s memorandum.

Following is a version of the job ad that accepts all suggestions that are in line with the job description per BSC policy:

The Cloyne Residence & Facilities Manager is responsible for overseeing the smooth operation of the room and board program at Cloyne Court.  The FM shall do this by being an active participant in maintaining a cooperative environment at Cloyne Court through modeling cooperative behavior,
checking members in & out of the house; problem solving between members and managers; maintaining financial records; ensuring that maintenance, safety, and habitability standards are maintained; working with house-level managers to enforce contract provisions and house rules; supporting the development of educational and social programming; working with the house Council to support democratic decision-making and member engagement; and acting as a liaison between members, house-level managers, and the house in general to the central-level.  The Cloyne Resident & Facilities Manager plays an integral role in the training, support, leadership development, and supervision of a variety of student house-level managers carrying out various specialized functions (e.g. Academic & Substance Free Theme, Food, House, Kitchen, Maintenance, Social, Workshift, etc.).  The Cloyne Residence & Facilities Manager must carry an emergency phone and be on-call for emergencies; some evening and weekend work is also required.            
The Cloyne Residence & Facilities Manager also acts as a resource for information, assistance, and advice for all BSC house-level managers, house-level operations, and Board-level committees, and completes other duties consistent with the mission of the BSC as required by the Cooperative Experience Manager.
Applicants must have a four-year college degree and at least one year of residential management experience.  Previous supervisory experience managing multiple staff (and preferably student employees) is required.  Applicants must be familiar with and have the ability to appropriately respond to the many and complex issues faced by college students (e.g. mental health, substance use/abuse, consent and sexual harassment/assault, and other identity, health, and wellness issues).  They should also be familiar with and have the ability to support and provide resources to students with a wide range of disabilities.  Significant experience working with a college/university student population, particularly in a residential setting, and experience with and/or involvement in one or more cooperative or collective organizations, are preferred.
The successful candidate will have excellent management/supervisory skills, strong interpersonal and verbal/written communication skills; conflict resolution skills, the ability to work on sensitive, confidential, and often complicated issues with tact and political acumen; excellent attention to detail; the ability to work independently in a fast-paced residential/office environment; excellent problem-solving/trouble-shooting skills; the ability to analyze problems, gather and evaluate data and develop recommendations for improvement with a tolerance for ambiguity and change, when necessary; intermediate computer skills, including Microsoft Office and Google suite applications; and the desire and ability to work with students in a student-controlled cooperative living and working environment.

While we regret the manner in which this process has unfolded thus far, we wholeheartedly encourage all cooperative democracy-oriented people to apply by the deadline of June 17 and/or share this job with like-minded people.

Again, we sympathize and stand in solidarity with rank-and-file staff who join the BSC (that is, the membership) in wanting to realize our cooperative values — even and especially when recent actions by the BSC’s senior management threaten and jeopardize these values. Lastly, we invite anyone who is interested to reach out to Cloyne members at to meet or chat with us throughout the hiring process.

Talk soon,
Members of Cloyne Court

This press release was written by a group of members empowered by Council with “lots of yes [votes], few [abstentions], 0 nos”.