Studying for finals is about to begin, but the news cycle on campus this week has been a lot more interesting than poring over textbooks. This week’s big events include Super Tuesday, graduate student strikes and a declaration of a state of emergency.
In response to 54 UC Santa Cruz graduate students being fired for withholding grades, the Ucla4Cola organization voted to strike for one day and rallied Thursday.
UCSC graduate students began striking in December for a cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, in an effort to raise their wages. Beginning Feb. 10, graduate students refused to grade or perform other job duties.
UCSC offered a $2,500 retroactive housing supplement to Master of Fine Arts and doctoral students if they resumed their job duties in an effort to resolve the issue.
Fifty-four graduate students continued to withhold grades and were consequently fired by the University of California Office of the President.
In a recent development, pending approval from graduate students from at least 10 departments approve, almost 100 graduate students voted to go on strike starting next week.
Striking workers said the strike will be nonunion-sanctioned, or a wildcat strike, and will last until the graduate students receive affordable housing and higher wages. The graduate students plan on not teaching or grading for the duration of the strike.
Currently, no department has released an official statement of support.
Fourteen states, including California, voted in primaries on Super Tuesday, drawing students to several polling sites across campus, including Ackerman Union – where the wait time for some was nearly four hours.
According to several poll workers, other voting centers near campus, including Hammer Museum and Warner Avenue Elementary School had hourslong lines at points during the day as well.
Lines were still hourslong when polls closed at 8 p.m.
Joshua Avila, co-director at BruinsVOTE! and a third-year political science student, said the voting machines in Ackerman failed early on in the day prompting the use of provisional ballots, but were up and running later that day. Warner Avenue Elementary School had similar technical difficulties.
A new student government program has reduced the cost to replace lost or stolen BruinCards by $15.
BruinCards, which normally cost $25, can be replaced for $10 for students who fill out a Google form requesting the fee waiver starting March 2. The reduced cost replacement waiver will be provided on a first-come, first-serve basis.
The waiver can be found on the Undergraduate Students Association Council Financial Supports Commission’s website and social media or at the BruinCard Center.
USAC’s surplus allocations gave the Financial Supports office $2,000 for the program up until June 1, or when all fee waivers are exhausted.
Thirteen COVID-19 cases lead the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health to declare a public health emergency in LA County.
On Wednesday morning, there were six new cases, bringing the total to seven. But only one case is hospitalized while the others are in home isolation, said Barbara Ferrer, the director of the LACDPH. Four new cases were announced Thursday, increasing the count to 11, with two more being confirmed on Friday for a total of 13.
At a conference, Kathryn Barger, the supervisor of the 5th District, said the state of emergency was declared in order to increase preparedness and response capabilities. Barger said it also allows the county to seek help from state and federal partners.
Chancellor Gene Block emailed the UCLA community early Friday morning, stating that there are currently three UCLA students being tested for COVID-19 by the LACDPH. The students are self-isolating off campus. The email also stated that there are no current positive tests for COVID-19 on the UCLA campus and that classes are operating normally, but that they are monitoring the situation.