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    By Paloma Esquivel | Los Angeles Times LOS ANGELES — As University of California graduate student union leaders and supporters celebrated Saturday the ratification of a new labor agreement that ended a historic strike, the vote also exposed a sharp divide among campuses. The agreement was approved by separate units of United Auto Workers — with SRU-UAW representing graduate student researchers and UAW 2865 representing teaching assistants, tutors and other student academic workers. Overall, about 68% of graduate student researchers voted in favor of the agreement to secure their first UC contract while about 61% of teaching assistants and other student academic workers voted to approve the agreement. But teaching assistants and other academic workers at the University of California campuses in Merced, Santa Cruz and  Santa Barbara overwhelmingly rejected the proposed contract while majorities at the UC system’s other campuses voted to approve it. Graduate student researchers at Santa Cruz and Merced also voted against the agreement. At UC Santa Cruz, only about 20% of workers voted in favor of the contracts. At Merced, it was about a quarter...
    As University of California graduate student union leaders and supporters celebrated Saturday the ratification of a new labor agreement that ended a historic strike, the vote also exposed a sharp divide among campuses. The agreement was approved by separate units of United Auto Workers — with SRU-UAW representing graduate student researchers and UAW 2865 representing teaching assistants, tutors and other student academic workers. Overall, about 68% of graduate student researchers voted in favor of the agreement to secure their first UC contract while about 61% of teaching assistants and other student academic workers voted to approve the agreement. But teaching assistants and other academic workers at UC Merced, UC Santa Cruz and UC Santa Barbara overwhelmingly rejected the proposed contract while majorities at the UC system’s other campuses voted to approve it. Graduate student researchers at Santa Cruz and Merced also voted against the agreement. At UC Santa Cruz, only about 20% of workers voted in favor of the contracts. At Merced, it was about a quarter of workers. Student workers who opposed ratification said they were working...
    University of California graduate student workers on Friday ratified a new labor agreement with big wage gains, support for child care and new protections against bullying and harassment, ending a historic strike that upended fall term finals and has reverberated nationally. In separate votes, two bargaining units of United Auto Workers approved the tentative agreement reached last week with the 10-campus university system — six weeks after 48,000 teaching assistants, tutors, researchers and postdoctoral scholars collectively walked off their jobs in the nation’s largest strike of academic workers. SRU-UAW’s 17,000 graduate student researchers backed the agreement with 68.4% on a vote of 10,057 to 4,640, securing their first UC contract after forming a union last year. UAW 2865, which represents 19,000 teaching assistants, tutors and other student academic workers, approved the agreement with 61.6% of the votes, 11,386 to 7,097. “The dramatic improvements to our salaries and working conditions are the result of tens of thousands of workers striking together in unity,” Rafael Jaime, UAW 2865 president, said in a statement. “These agreements redefine what is possible in terms of...
    By Mikhail Zinshteyn | CalMatters As a labor standoff drags into its second month at the University of California, the graduate student workers on strike are bringing their fury — and hopes for higher wages and benefits — directly to UC leadership through civil disobedience and other tactics that go beyond standard picketing. Across several episodes in recent weeks, dozens of striking academic workers have ramped up their activism, putting themselves in positions that they know lead to handcuffs and arrest. “There are lots of members who are very frustrated with the process so far … and they are ready to escalate, and they have been escalating by engaging in civil disobedience,” said Rafael Jaime, a doctoral candidate in English at UCLA who is president of United Auto Workers 2865, the union representing 19,000 mostly graduate students who work as teaching assistants, tutors and instructors. Several academic workers who were arrested in the Los Angeles area agreed, telling CalMatters that the slow pace of negotiations compelled them to ratchet up their protests, in particular targeting members of the UC Regents,...
    Listen to this episode of The Times: Apple Podcasts Spotify Stitcher Google Podcasts The workload for graduate students, researchers and assistants who take on-campus jobs for their discipline is notoriously underpaid and endless. That’s why 48,000 of those workers throughout the University of California system have gone on strike, demanding better pay and conditions. The strike is happening even as finals loom. Today, we examine the background and what’s next. Read the full transcript here. Host: Gustavo Arellano Guests: L.A. Times education reporter Teresa Watanabe More reading: Nearly 48,000 UC graduate students poised to shut down many classes, labs and research with strike UC postdoctoral scholars and researchers reach tentative deal but strike continues Chaos over grades, finals and ongoing classes erupts as UC strike continues About The Times “The Times” is produced by Shannon Lin, Denise Guerra, Kasia Broussalian, David Toledo and Ashlea Brown. Our editorial assistants are Roberto Reyes and Nicolas Perez. Our engineers are Mario Diaz, Mark Nieto and Mike Heflin. Our editor is Kinsee Morlan. Our...
    Submit your letter to the editor via this form. Read more Letters to the Editor. Ghost Ship piece proves need for local journalism Your Nov. 27 editorial, “After Ghost Ship, prevention effort remains troubling,” (Page A16) shows how crucial it is that the public supports local journalism. Oakland’s fire inspectors were neither certified nor competent, leading to the disaster and showing that the official watchdogs need watching. Only local papers can do this, but their resources have dwindled. Sadly, so many people who consider themselves to be caring and informed do not subscribe to local papers. Readers should tell their friends and neighbors to subscribe. Karen Lee Cohen Walnut Creek Honor UC graduate instructors’ work, strike Re. “UC graduate student strike highlights state’s underfunding,” Page A7, Nov. 25: “You are improving at an amazing speed,” my graduate student instructor told me. She was my best companion, supporter and friend. As a visiting student at UC Berkeley this semester, I experienced an academic leap with big help from her. But now I feel like I’ve been deprived of my opportunities to...
    Diego Villegas had no illusions that leaving Mexico City to pursue a graduate degree at UC Berkeley would be easy. But he was unprepared for the harsh reality of finding safe and affordable housing in a college town struggling to accommodate its growing student population. After a faulty air conditioner set fire to his first rental, Villegas slept on couches for months while frantically searching for a new place to live. The school helped by getting him into scarcely available student housing, but he could barely afford the cramped studio apartment. He’s since moved to a shared house in Oakland where the $1,000 monthly rent is over three-quarters what he earns grading papers for university classes. “It has not been, as they say in Mexico, through a path of flowers,” Villegas said. “It’s been through a path of pain and stress and lots of economic uncertainty.” Villegas, 27, is one of roughly 48,000 University of California graduate student workers and academic employees at campuses across the state who walked off the job last month, demanding higher wages to ease the...
    More than 1,000 University of California faculty members are imploring Gov. Gavin Newsom and state legislators to wade into the ongoing academic workers strike and urge UC leaders to meet union demands. In a letter signed by faculty from all 10 UC campuses, and during a rally Friday afternoon at UCLA, the group called on Newsom to push university leaders to bargain “in good faith” with the United Auto Workers, the union representing the 36,000 teaching assistants, tutors, graduate student researchers and postdoctoral scholars who have not reached an agreement with the system. With the strike entering its fourth week Monday — after class cancellations, scaled-down finals and anxiety over semester grading — the letter represents the strongest public support yet from faculty members for striking graduate students, teaching assistants and tutors. These workers lead course discussions, run labs, grade assignments, administer exams, conduct research and perform other roles. The union is demanding significant pay increases to help workers afford housing in the high-cost areas where most UC campuses are located, along with more support for child care,...
    As the nation’s largest ever strike of higher-education academic workers enters its third week Monday, with the crunch time of final exams just days away, fears are rising over long-lasting and unintended consequences to the University of California’s core missions of teaching and research. Faculty in particular are worried that higher labor costs to meet the salary demands of the 48,000 striking workers, without more state or federal funding to pay for them, could force cutbacks in hiring graduate students — jeopardizing the research they conduct and the academic experiences of the undergraduates they help teach. UC grant applications could become less competitive if they have higher price tags, potentially affecting the university’s transformative work in climate change, genetic engineering, economic inequality and galactic mysteries, to name a few areas. The all-important relationship between faculty mentors and graduate students is being tested, with bitterness festering among some factions. The collective labor action, by four United Auto Workers bargaining units across all 10 UC campuses and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, is also surfacing long-standing complaints about inadequate state funding...
    The strike of tens of thousands of graduate student workers at the University of California points to an uncomfortable truth: For decades the state steadily cut funding to the university while expecting that it admit more students and charge them more along the way. That has made it more difficult for UC to stay on par with the far-better-endowed private universities it is trying to compete with. At the same time, like those universities, UC must rely on — and adequately pay — its graduate students to carry out its essential functions. The scale of the state’s disinvestment has been breathtaking. In 1980-81, 87% of the university’s core budget came from Sacramento. Four decades later, state funding had plummeted to merely 39% of the core budget. Making matters worse, much of the lost revenue has been replaced by income from student tuition and fees. This is not a recent development. Over a decade ago then-UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau described his flagship campus as a federal university because it was receiving more money from federal research grants and student aid than...
    Nearly 48,000 University of California academic workers — the backbone of the vaunted higher education system who research, mentor and teach — are poised to strike Monday in a labor action that could shut down some classes and lab work just weeks before final exams. In what would be the nation’s largest strike of academic workers, four UAW bargaining units representing teaching assistants, postdoctoral scholars, academic and graduate student researchers, tutors, fellows and others are set to picket from 8 a.m. at all of UC’s 10 campuses. The campuses are scheduled to remain open and plan to continue instruction and operations. The workers are demanding significant pay increases, with many saying they are struggling to afford housing near their campuses, which are located in some of California’s priciest real estate markets. A union survey found that 40% of graduate student workers spend more than half their pay on rent and 92% of them spend more than 30%, said Rafael Jaime, a UCLA PhD candidate and president of UAW 2865, which represents 19,000 teaching assistants, tutors and readers. Other demands include...
    Why should you need a high school degree to go to university in California? In 2020, the state’s public schools ditched their students, shutting K-12 campuses for over a year and providing ineffective online lessons. Since then, educational leaders have often failed to acknowledge, and done too little to compensate for, all the learning loss — which is why California eighth-graders now do math at fifth-grade level. With public schools just trying to survive chronic absenteeism, political controversy and enrollment declines, there’s little chance of restoring the system soon. Rather than confront this historic educational failure, California has covered it up — by eliminating testing, turning Ds and Fs into passing grades, and reducing graduation requirements, already among the country’s most meager (we only require two years of math). Add it all up (if you have any math skills) and California high school diplomas no longer mean much. Which is why our state university systems should stop requiring them. You read that right. The University of California and California State University systems should drop admission requirements that students graduate high...
    BERKELEY, Calif. (KGO) -- Fears over thousands of rejections alongside huge wait times loom over prospected Berkeley applicants. Since last Thursday's decision by the Supreme Court of California to cap enrollments at 2020-21 levels, administrators have been wrangling over mitigating solutions.Dan Mogulof, Assistant Vice Chancellor in UC Berkeley's Office of Communications and Public Affairs, explains how the university is getting around having 3,000 fewer on-campus students."We are going to be able to offer admission to all of the undergraduates we plan to that's the good news," says Mogulof. Out of the 3,000 applicants, approximately 2,000 are undergraduates. Within these parameters, 1100 to about 1150 will be required to take their first semester online. With an additional 650 undergraduates deferred until January 2023.As a graduate student, unless you are studying engineering, law, or business, things are less optimistic. Within the remaining 1000 student deficit, graduate students will see a flat cut of about 400 in enrollment mostly from smaller niche colleges. Meaning oncoming graduate students for next year will "come primarily perhaps solely from our College of Engineering or law school...
    Two Bay Area students — one from Stanford University and another from the University of California, Berkeley — are among the 32 chosen as Rhodes Scholars for 2022, receiving the prestigious postgraduate award to continue their studies at England’s Oxford University. “For the second year, a class of Rhodes Scholars has been elected entirely virtually, with both candidates and selectors participating remotely, safely, and independently,” Elliot Gerson, American Secretary of the Rhodes Trust, said in a Saturday news release. “As successful as the process was, we of course hope to return to in-person interviews and selection next year in cities across the country, as had been done for over a century.” Stanford senior Sayeh Kohani and recent UC Berkeley graduate Varsha Sarveshwar are among the cohort of 32 recipients, which includes a record number of 22 women, the most elected in a year ever. This year, more than 2,300 students underwent the application process and the winners represent 24 different colleges and universities. Selection committees from 16 regions interviewed finalists before two students from each region was picked. The Rhodes Scholars...
    The University of California is seeking to add 20,000 seats for students by 2030, the equivalent of a new campus, to help meet surging demand for a UC education and college graduates to fill the state’s growing need for highly skilled employees. UC Board of Regents Chair Cecilia Estolano, who has marked enrollment expansion as one of her top priorities, emphasized, along with UC President Michael V. Drake, that UC must grow without sacrificing its renowned quality in teaching and research and increase numbers of both undergraduates and graduate students, faculty and staff. The system’s nine undergraduate campuses face a looming capacity crisis that could deprive as many as 144,000 qualified California students a seat at a four-year campus by the end of the decade. “The demand for, and the value of a UC education has only grown over the years,” Drake said. “Record-breaking application numbers speak for themselves, as do the stories we’ve all heard over the years about the challenges students face in achieving acceptance to the university’s campuses. It’s clear that enrollment growth is essential...
    MOSCOW (AP/CBS13) — A court in central Russia on Sunday arraigned a suspect on murder charges in the death of UC Davis graduate who was studying at a local university. The body of Catherine Serou, 34, was found Saturday in a wooded area near the city of Nizhny Novgorod, 400 kilometers (250 miles) east of Moscow. She had been missing since Tuesday. READ MORE: Body Of Missing UC Davis Graduate Catherine Serou Found In Russia, Reports Say Her mother, Beccy Serou, of Vicksburg, Mississippi, told NPR that her daughter had last texted her: “In a car with a stranger. I hope I’m not being abducted.” State news agency RIA-Novosti cited the local court as saying the suspect gave her a ride in his car, then took her to the wooden area and beat her and stabbed her “in the course of a dispute.” Russian news reports have identified the suspect as Alexander Popov and said he had a record of violent crimes. He faces up to life in prison if convicted of murder. READ MORE: Events Around Sacramento Celebrate First...
    MOSCOW (AP/CBS13) — Russian news reports said searchers on Saturday found the body of a UC Davis graduate who went missing several days earlier and that a man has been arrested on suspicion of murder. The body of Catherine Serou, 34, was found in a wooded area in the city of Nizhny Novgorod, approximately 250 miles east of Moscow, the reports said. READ MORE: Events Around Sacramento Celebrate First Nationally Recognized Juneteenth Serou reportedly went missing Tuesday after getting into a car with a stranger, NPR reported on Saturday. The newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda said she sent an email to her mother expressing alarm that “unknown people” were driving her. Her mother, Beccy Serou, told NPR that she received a message from her daughter prior to her disappearance that read: “In a car with a stranger. I hope I’m not being abducted.” READ MORE: Saturday Night Fever: Enjoying A Night On The Town After California COVID Restrictions Lifted Russia’s Investigative Committee said in a statement that a suspect with a record of serious crimes had been arrested, but did not give...
    MOSCOW (CBS SF/AP) — Russian news reports said searchers on Saturday found the body of UC Davis graduate Catherine Serou, who had gone missing for several days in Nizhny Novgorod after texting her mother that she was “in a car with a stranger.” Serou earned a bachelor’s degree in design and a master’s degree in art history at the UC-Davis before heading to Russia to further her studies. READ MORE: UPDATE: 15 Injured, 20 Rescued After Fire Erupts Inside San Francisco Tenderloin Apartment Building Russian authorities reportedly had a man in custody on suspicion of murder. The body of the 34-year-old Serou was found in a wooded area near the city of Bor, 400 kilometers east of Moscow, the reports said. READ MORE: Santa Rosa Police Search For Hit-And-Run Driver Who Critically Injured Bicyclist Serou was last seen on Tuesday after getting into a car. In an interview with NPR, Serou’s mother said she received a frightening text from her daughter. “It says: ‘In a car with a stranger. I hope I’m not being abducted.’ And that’s the last thing...
    DAVIS (CBS13) — The woman who was rescued after an apartment fire at a UC Davis housing complex has died, authorities say. UC Davis officials revealed on Tuesday that Hissah Almousa was the woman seriously injured in the Solano Park apartment complex fire back on May 8. Almousa has since died from her injuries, officials said. READ MORE: Suspect Arrested After Hours-Long Standoff In Carmichael Following Chase, Domestic Situation Almousa was married to Mohamed Alkaoud, a UC Davis graduate student. READ MORE: 2 Men Who Drowned At Tuolumne County Swimming Hole Identified As Daly City, Pittsburg Residents The Solano Park apartment complex primarily houses graduate students and full-time students with children. Several other residents of the complex were displaced in the fire and are being temporarily rehoused, UC Davis officials said. MORE NEWS: Stimulus Check Latest: Is A Fourth Relief Payment Coming? Exactly what started the fire, which firefighters brought under control within a few minutes of getting to the scene, is still under investigation.
    SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (KGO) -- For the first time, a University of California, Santa Cruz graduate has been selected as a Rhodes Scholar.She and 31 other Americans were chosen virtually this year, because of the COVID-19 pandemic - but that didn't lessen Garima Desai's enthusiasm."When they announced it, my name. It's like I almost dreamed it. It was really a dream come true. And after we talked a little bit, I turned off my computer. I opened my door and screamed to my parents, I'm a Rhodes Scholar, I won!" Desai beamed.RELATED: Why experts say college students should fill out the FAFSA immediatelyDesai told ABC7 News anchor Dion Lim she'll study economics and the environment with her Oxford scholarship and is already thinking about how she'll be able to use it to help Build a Better Bay Area."I do respect that right now, people don't feel comfortable going on transit. But we need to think long term. We may not want to bus and train now but we're going to need it in the future - with the human population...
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