The following statement was issued by the protesters:
We, the protestors of the 5th floor of Mrak Hall, are writing to inform the community of our decision to end our five-week sit-in in Chancellor Katehi’s office. This exit from Mrak is not one of defeat, but rather of victory. Through our continual presence in Mrak Hall, we have effectively brought local, national, and international attention to the unethical behaviors of the Katehi administration and become a pivotal voice in the national conversation about privatization and administrative accountability.
What we have accomplished is brave, righteous, and beautiful, and our exit from Mrak is by no means the end. As we move into the next phase of our movement, we ask that you join us in demanding critical changes in the structure of UC management and an end to the corporatization higher education. The problem is not only with Linda Katehi and does not only reside at UC Davis. We are calling on students, workers, and faculty across the UC campuses and across the broader United States to speak out against their administrators and institutions that are placing pride and profit over students and workers.
What began as a small march to Linda Katehi’s office on Friday, March 11 has since evolved into a community movement united in pursuit of a fair and transparent administration centered on the needs of students and workers. Along with the reports that expose the incredible spending of tuition money to save public image by erasing the pepper spray incident from the internet, our 36-day sit-in demonstrates the UC prioritization of administrative employment over student voice. We have garnered an enormous amount of support both locally as well as across the nation. Encouraged and emboldened by the efforts of our supporters, we have persevered in the face of slander, threats leveled against us by the administration, constant police surveillance, transphobia, and mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion. Beyond all odds, we have maintained our hold on Mrak throughout finals week, spring break, and the first three weeks of the Spring Quarter. To the brave students, staff, faculty, and community members who have come forward, we offer our most heartfelt gratitude and appreciation. Your courageous actions and unwavering support have energized this movement and helped bring our struggle into the national arena.
At the end of week five, Fire Katehi has outgrown the sit-in, and it is time to change our tactics in order to accommodate the ever growing magnitude of this movement. In the coming weeks, we will continue to mobilize and escalate our tactics in ways that incorporate a wider proportion of the community. By moving the protest beyond the walls of Mrak, we will increase the visibility of our protest and continue to build public pressure towards the democratization of the UC. As we enter this new stage, we would like to recognize and sincerely apologize for our continual use of the word “occupation” throughout our sit-in. UC Davis and Mrak Hall sit on land stolen from the Patwin people, and the language we have used to describe our sit-in has perpetuated the invisibilization of this fact. Our rhetoric has not been centered on decolonization and we must do better if we are to be a truly democratic and intersectional movement. As we demand accountability from campus administrators, we also demand accountability from ourselves. Moving forward, we must and can do better.
The fight to democratize the UC does not end with Katehi’s resignation. In fact, that is only the beginning. The road ahead of us is long and hard, but we must persevere. We know that we are on the right side of history, and together we can build a truly 21st century university.