Hundreds of students rallied at Janss steps Thursday in support of COLA, or the cost-of-living adjustment. The cost of living adjustment ensures that salaries are adjusted to keep up with changes in rent costs.
The UC-wide strike is part of the movement started by graduate students who withheld UC Santa Cruz’s fall quarter grades in protest of low teaching assistant wages and rent burden. Fifty-four TAs were fired from UCSC at the beginning of March as a result.
Associate professors of anthropology Erin Debenport (left) and Hannah Appel (right) stand with graduate students striking for higher wages. Many members of UCLA’s anthropology faculty have voiced support for the strikes, including professor Jason De León and assistant professor Salih Açiksöz.
Students sit on Janss steps and listen to the speakers.
A woman takes a nap as the rally unfolds on Janss steps.
James Huynh, a PhD student in community health sciences said that graduate students in LA experience precarious living conditions. ‘’On top of worrying about finances, we have to worry about teaching our students, grading, doing our research’’ Huynh said. Huynh said that he has seen more grad students mobilize this year than in the past few years. ‘’As long as we continue to approach this issue in an intersectional way, thinking about different systems of power and oppression, then this can truly be like a huge moment.’’
Anthropology professor and Director of the UCLA American Indian Studies Center Shannon Speed addresses the crowd at the rally.
Rachel John, an undergraduate student at UCLA, said that she thinks that it is important for undergrads to come out to the rallies. ‘’They put a lot of work into helping us learn’’ John said. ‘’All we can do right now it to show support for what they’re trying to make a change for.’’
Students at the In Solidarity Protest against Hindutva march from Meyerhoff Park outside Kerckhoff Hall to Janss steps in support of the COLA strike.
Rally attendees hold signs on Janss steps.
Strikers vote on how to continue the COLA movement at UCLA. Graduate students eventually agreed to start a wildcat strike, or a strike not sanctioned by a labor union, if 10 academic departments support the action.