Hypocritical student “activists” at UC Berkeley have criticized UC Berkeley’s Police Department for its forthcoming acquisition of a Lenco Ballistic Engineered Armoured Response Counter Attack Truck (BearCat), even going so far as to launch a “petition” which seems to call upon UCPD to desist from procuring this vehicle. This “petition” is based on crass political calculations. By its very nature it cannot stoke enough outrage to stop the procurement at UC Berkeley, but it could slow down the acquisition of much-needed armored vehicles throughout the rest of the UC system.

We call upon the UCSC Administration and the UCSC Police Department to take immediate steps to procure an armored vehicle at UC Santa Cruz!

We would like to suggest a bright yellow, jointed armored banana slug, equipped with hydraulic tentacles to clear barriers and a Long Range Acoustic Device for non-lethal crowd dispersion – something offering the level of security of a BearCat Riot Control while tastefully displaying our school spirit.

Surely we at Santa Cruz deserve no less, in order to face large incidents such the unsanctioned gathering known as “4-20” and overly excited patrons at the Grateful Dead Archives – not to mention repeated rounds of vigorous advocacy in support of public education.

Furthermore, we consider any attempt to restrict the procurement of armored vehicles to be an unconscionable restriction on the self-expression of UC President Mark Yudof, who clearly belongs inside one of these babies. We hope to welcome him at UC Santa Cruz for a christening ceremony for our new armored slug no later than December 1, 2012.


UPDATE: it looks like a BearCat will not be coming soon to Cal. We’re still coming up with good uses for one at Santa Cruz. The way shuttle service has been cut back lately, maybe TAPS needs a BearCat as part of its fleet?


UC President Mark Yudof at the Lenco Armored Vehicles test facility, Pittsfield, MA, May 2012


To the tune of “Rocky Racoon” by the Beatles.

AWDU walked into the room
only to find lonely ballots
AWDU had come to spoil the fun
of all those Admin Caucus bosses

Our rivals it seems had broken our dreams
by ditching the votes of our members

The turnout was high, but USEJ denied to count Berkeley’s 800 ballots

A nice volunteer, got caught in a smear for putting together the boxes
The big guy walked in and grinning his grin, said, “kenny, boy, smile for the camera!”

We got on HuffPo, it wasn’t enough though,
they kept up their tactical stalling.

We said, “USEJ you met your match!
You better count that last batch
or the rank-n-file, the rank-n-file will come calling!”

A.W.D.U kept watching the room,
forced USEJ back to the table.
The ballots checked out and they left no doubt
of union democracy’s revival!

Dear fellow graduate and undergraduate students,

We are excited to announce that our votes have finally been counted and our reform slate has won 75% of positions on our UAW 2865 union Joint Council!  The 80-member Joint Council is the highest elected body of our union with representatives from every campus.

55% of voters also cast their ballots for our Academic Workers for a Democratic Union (AWDU) reform slate for the UAW 2865 Executive Board – electing our candidates to all 10 positions on the Board.  The Elections Committee has certified these election results as true and fair.  You can get the full results at www.awdu.org.

The election itself and our struggle to count every vote has already transformed our union.  The debate and struggle were contentious.  But this struggle opened up a huge new space for thousands of our members to participate in deciding how to defend our interests as a union.  Turnout in the election increased to about 3,400 votes from just a few hundred votes in the last Triennial Election for the Joint Council and Executive Board.

The struggle to count the votes also deepened member involvement in our union.  Last Saturday, when three members of the election committee halted the vote count, abandoning the ballots of 1500 members regardless of their votes, UAW members spoke up.  Thousands of members wrote letters, signed petitions, and made phone calls to demand that the votes be counted.  Members organized to guard the ballots that the statewide officials abandoned in the UCLA office.  Members rallied, marched, and sat-down at the UAW statewide office.  It was an unprecedented display of member power and the result was the resumption of vote counting by the statewide officials.

Now it is time for us to bring this strength to our fight against the attacks on higher education.  As a next step, we are calling on all graduate students and undergraduate tutors – no matter who they supported in the election – to come together for a statewide membership meeting of the union on May 21st to chart the way forward.  We’ll get you more details soon.  But high on the agenda is stepping up the fight against increasing class sizes, fee hikes, rising housing costs, new budget cuts, and UC management’s capping of funding for fee remissions and health benefits for graduate student employees.

We will stand together against the attacks on higher education, in real unity borne of fruitful discussion that includes disagreement.  A grassroots, bottom-up union is strong when it provides space for open debate, and we hope that every member continues to express criticism when necessary.  We also know that many members of the USEJ slate and many USEJ supporters never wanted to stop the vote count in the first place.  We hope that the Elections Committee’s dismissal of the fabricated allegations by some of the outgoing union officers will help up us begin a more honest dialogue with each other.

The incredible diversity of our newly elected Joint Council and entire union is a vital strength that we must actively build upon.  By working together, including with the new Joint Council members from USEJ, we will win historic advances for the rights of student-workers and the expansion of public education.  We look forward to building a new kind of union together.

In Solidarity,

Amanda Armstrong, Rhetoric – UC Berkeley – Head Steward-Elect

Matt Bonal, Rhetoric – UC Berkeley

Rachel Brahinsky, Geography – UC Berkeley – Head Steward-Elect

Shane Boyle, Performance Studies – UC Berkeley – Head Steward-Elect

Dan Buch, Sociology – UC Berkeley

Chris Chen, English – UC Berkeley

Kfir Cohen, Comparative Literature – UC Berkeley

Mandy Cohen, Comparative Literature – UC Berkeley – Statewide Recording Secretary-Elect

Rob Connell, African-American Studies – UC Berkeley – Head Steward-Elect

Alex Dubilet, Rhetoric – UC Berkeley

Charlie Eaton, Sociology – UC Berkeley – Financial Secretary-Elect

Barry Eidlin, Sociology – UC Berkeley

Eli Friedman, Sociology – UC Berkeley

Pablo Gaston – Sociology – UC Berkeley – Head Steward-Elect

Jessie Hock, Comparative Literature – UC Berkeley

Nick Kardahji, History – UC Berkeley – Trustee-Elect

Sarah Knuth, Geography – UC Berkeley

Katy Fox-Hodess, Sociology – UC Berkeley – Head Steward-Elect

Zachary Levenson, Sociology – UC Berkeley

Munira Lokhandwala, Film – UC Berkeley

Katherine Maich, Sociology, Berkeley

Callie Maidhof, Anthropology – UC Berkeley

Larissa Mann, Jurisprudence & Social Policy – UC Berkeley

Daniel Marcus, Art History – UC Berkeley

Micki McCoy, History of Art – UC Berkeley — Head Steward-Elect

Blanca Missé, French – UC Berkeley – Guide Elect

Megan O’Connor, English, Berkeley

Aaron Platt, Sociology – UC Berkeley

Manuel Rosaldo, Sociology – UC Berkeley – Head Steward-Elect

Gustavo Oliveira, Geography – UC Berkeley

Chris Schildt, City and Regional Planning – UC Berkeley – Head Steward-Elect

Jessica Smith, Chemistry – UC Berkeley – Head Steward-Elect

John Stehlin, Geography – UC Berkeley

Cate Talley, French – UC Berkeley

Alex Tarr, Geography – UC Berkeley

Jennifer Tucker, City and Regional Planning – UC Berkeley – Campus Unit Chair-Elect

Daniela Urban, Law – UC Berkeley

Megan Wachspress, Jurisprudence & Social Policy – UC Berkeley – Campus Recording Secretary-Elect

Josh Williams, Performance Studies – UC Berkeley – Head Steward-Elect

Brandon Wolf, Performance Studies – UC Berkeley

Molly Ball, English – UC Davis – Outgoing Campus Recording Secretary

Justin Clement, History – UC Davis – Campus Unit Chair-Elect

Tim Gutierrez, Sociology – UC Davis – Head Steward-Elect

Brenda Medina-Hernandez, History – UC Davis – Trustee-Elect

Andrew Morgan, History – UC Davis – Head Steward-Elect

Tom O’Donnell, History – UC Davis – Candidate for Head Steward

Nickolas Perrone, History – UC Davis – Campus Recording Secretary-Elect

Brian Riley, Education – UC Davis – Graduate Student Association Chair

Blake Ringeisen, Biological Systems Engineering – UC Davis

Jordan Scavo, History – UC Davis – Head Steward-Elect

Jessica Taal, Education – UC Davis – Head Steward-Elect

Chima Anyadike-Danes, Anthropology – UC Irvine – Head Steward-Elect

Jordan Brocious, Physics – UC Irvine – Sergeant-at-Arms-Elect

Ben Cox, Anthropology – UC Irvine – Head Steward-Elect

Cheryl Deutsch, Anthropology – UC Irvine – President-Elect

Anne Kelly, Earth System Science – UC Irvine – Campus Recording Secretary-Elect

Seneca Lindsey, Earth System Science – UC Irvine – Head Steward-Elect

Nick Seaver, Anthropolgy – UC Irvine

Bron Tamulis, Political Science – UC Irvine

Natali Valdez, Anthropology – UC Irvine

Robert Wood, Comparative Literature – UC Irvine – Campus Unit Chair-Elect

Carolina Beltran, Spanish & Portuguese – UCLA

Mindy Chen, Social Welfare – UCLA – Candidate for Head Steward

Will Clark, English – UCLA

Erin Conley, English – UCLA – Candidate for Head Steward

Yu-ting Huang, Comparative Literature – UCLA – Candidate for Head Steward

Renee Hudson, English – UCLA – Candidate for Head Steward

Dan Lichtenstein-Boris, Public Health – UCLA

Dustianne North, Social Welfare – UCLA

Alexei Nowak, Comparative Literature – UCLA – Candidate for Head Steward

Jeremy Schmidt, English – UCLA – Candidate for Unit Chair

Hadley Theodara Suter, French – UCLA – Candidate for Head Steward

Julia Tomassetti, Sociology – UCLA – Candidate for Recording Secretary

Zachary Williams, Political Science – UCLA – Candidate for Head Steward

Elise Youn, Urban Planning – UCLA

Chris Carlson, Mathematics – UC Riverside – Steward-Elect

Elliott Kim, History – UC Riverside – Southern Vice President-Elect

John Armenta, Communications – UC San Diego – Candidate for Campus Recording Secretary

Muni Citrin, Communications – UC San Diego

John Higgins, Literature – UC San Diego – Candidate for Campus Unit Chair

Megan Turner, Literature, UC San Diego

Olivier Dufault, History – UC Santa Barbara

Sunny Lim, History – UC Santa Barbara

Josh Brahinsky, History of Consciousness – UC Santa Cruz – Campus Recording Secretary-Elect

Erin Ellison, Psychology – UC Santa Cruz

Rachel Fabian, Ocean Studies – UC Santa Cruz

Michelle Glowa, Environmental Studies – UC Santa Cruz – Head Steward-Elect

Donald Kingsbury, Politics – UC Santa Cruz

Jessy Lancaster, Psychology – UC Santa Cruz – Outgoing Campus Recording Secretary

Brian Malone, Literature – UC Santa Cruz – Outgoing Campus Unit Chair

Mark Paschal, History of Consciousness – UC Santa Cruz

Jeb Purucker, Literature – UC Santa Cruz

Sophie Rollins, Literature – UC Santa Cruz

Jeff Sanceri, History – UC Santa Cruz – Graduate Student Assembly President

Trevor Joy Sangrey, History of Consciousness – UC Santa Cruz

Sara Smith, Labor History – UC Santa Cruz – Northern Vice President-Elect

Anika Walke, History of Consciousness – UC Santa Cruz

Mary Virginia Watson, Politics – UC Santa Cruz – Campus Unit Chair-Elect

From the sit-in at the UCLA UAW office. Yuting Huang, AWDU candidate for Head Steward at UCLA, responds to USEJ’s slander.

We are very tired.

We are tired from sleeping on the office floor for the fifth night, only to make sure of the integrity of the ballots. When no attempts whatsoever had been made from either the current administrations of UAW 2865 or the candidates from USEJ (many of whom serve as current staff and leaders) to attend to the boxes, we took it upon ourselves to guard the two locked doors 24/7 because we respect the members who voted and we want their ballots to be counted.

We do not know whether counting the ballots will win us the election. Given how heavily outnumbered I was when campaigning at certain polling locations at UCLA, I personally do not think I will win a position. But this is an election, and counting the votes is what we should do. To do that, we must secure the integrity of the ballots. That is why we are doing what we are doing. We do not understand why the current leadership never made any attempt to secure the ballots. I believe they owe the voters the responsibility to secure the fairness of the ballots.

But while we struggle to do the job of the election committee neglected to do, everyday we wake up to yet another public slander on our friends from the current president of UAW 2865. They are slanders that use shiny keywords with immediate effect and little content, but they hurt, deeply.

I started the campaign talking to members on campus what we envision to be a better union. I was ecstatic to hold long conversations with students across the campus who share my concern for the budget cuts and the same devotion to our students. But four o’clock in the morning last Wednesday, the night after the first election day, I found myself writing a response to accusations of racism targeted at my slate. At noon on the same day, I found myself outside math science building, bewildered, trying to tell voters that we do not hate scientists, if ever the four canvassers from USEJ were not physically blocking me from getting near the voters. Today, I found myself reading another email from the UAW president telling me I am probably an intimidating, harrasing thug since I am an AWDU candidate.

I am five feet five, Asian, an international student, and a woman. I am indeed a humanities student, but I teach at least 10 science students every quarter in the past 6 quarters. I never thought of emphasizing any of these things because I am not running for identity, I am running for a vision of a democratic union.

I care to win only because I think the campus deserves a more involved union. But if the strategy to win requires public slanders and personal attacks, I do not care to win enough. I refuse to dance around their accusation and provocation any longer. I have never called anybody names, and I am not about to start. I will not stop fighting for public education, and it will just be a pity if I am not able to be involved in the union.

All my friends in AWDU share the same sentiment, and I am deeply sorry for my friends whose name have been thrown about in careless accusations.

We have just learned that the elections committee of our local convened today at 12:30pm and agreed to restart the counting at 9am on Thursday (5/5)! This is a huge victory for rank-and-file members who joined or supported the sit-in at the statewide offices in Berkeley and LA and for everyone who helped with emails, media contacts, petitions and with securing support from progressive faculty and labor activists!! By drawing on the proud tradition of rank-and-file activism and direct action in the US labor movement, the tradition which built the UAW in the first place, members made clear that they would not stand by and allow themselves to be disenfranchised.

AWDU candidates and supporters look forward to the resumption of the count and will be present to help ensure it proceeds without unnecessary delays or suspensions. It has been our position all along that win or lose, AWDU is committed to an elections process that is free and fair, and that allows ordinary members to decide how their union should be run, and by whom. Given the extraordinary and outrageous circumstances in which the count was suspended, we plan to continue the sit-in until the voting process is fully complete and a certified result has been issued.

To the elections committee, the incumbent Executive Board, Regional Director Jim Wells
and International Representatives Mike Miller and Ken Lang:

We are members of UAW 2865 from UC Berkeley, UC Davis and UC Santa Cruz. We
are writing from the statewide office of our local where members have been present since
9am. At 11:30am today more than 100 members rallied on Berkeley campus and more
than 60 joined the ongoing sit down in the office to make one demand: count our votes.

We understand that the USEJ candidates and Daraka Larimore-Hall have publicly
committed in an email sent Saturday night to resume the vote count, and Mike Miller has
expressed his commitment to resuming the vote count as soon as possible in a call with
Cheryl Deutsch and Charlie Eaton today. We are very happy to hear this commitment.
From the moment that Travis Knowles, chair of the elections committee, passed an out of
order motion to end the vote count and then abandon the ballots we have been waiting for
the vote count to resume.

We believe that the vote count must resume immediately and we are committed to remain
in our union office until the counting of the votes is finished. We find it outrageous that
the elections committee left the vote count without any plan for ensuring the security of
the ballots at the UCLA union office. It has been left up to the goodwill of members—
the same members who are being accused of disrupting the vote count—to secure and
monitor the ballots.

We take inspiration from the sit down strikes of the 1930s upon which UAW’ s strength
was founded that showed that the best way to enforce our rights as workers and union
members is to take collective action. As union members we affirm our right to be in
our union office, especially at this moment when so many members are confused,
disappointed and frustrated and are seeking to discuss and coordinate our response to this
shocking suspension of our democratic rights.

Of course, we also believe that the organizing and clerical staff of the local have every
right to be here and continue their work given that our presence in no way impedes their
work. It goes without saying that we will respect this space which after all belongs to us,
the members.

We await your immediate reply affirming your commitment to restart the vote count.

Members of UAW 2865

Right now, a group of students is holding an indefinite sit in at statewide UAW office in Berkeley. We are UAW members and AWDU supporters, and we are demanding that all votes be counted. Right now, the elections committee is refusing to count all the ballots from both UCLA and UC Berkeley, meaning that nearly half of the votes from the recent election have not been counted. This means that nearly half of all students who voted do not get a say in who will run our union for the next three years. This is outrageous and unacceptable.

I urge you to make the short trip up to Berkeley to join us. We are at 2070 Allston Way, Suite 205, in Berkeley. We need to send a strong message that ALL our voices must be heard.

In addition, there is a RALLY happening at Berkeley right now. You can find details about the rally here: http://berkeleyuaw.wordpress.com/2011/05/02/today-may-2-2011-rally-to-count-all-the-votes/

In Solidarity,
Jessy Lancaster, Former Recording Secretary