In response to the latest email from UCD administration regarding the sit-in protest of the chancellor’s office:
The protesters on the 5th floor of Mrak Hall find it important to respond to the latest email from UCD administration regarding our protest. Provost Hexter emphasized the discomfort of the employees on the floor of the sit-in, demonizing non-reformist protest to ground his complaints. It is true our group does not comply with the usual code of conduct “offered” by the policies of “free speech” and “protest.”
To respond to specific points, such as the “odors emanating from the protesters’ food and the garbage they leave behind, which is also an additional burden on the custodial staff,” we have collectively made efforts to maintain a clean environment; we have regular cleaning sprees, sort through our garbage, work with the nighttime custodial staff, and attempt to execute a system of cleanliness. That being said, we are students, community members, and campus employees and we have just as many responsibilities as the next campus affiliate. Sometimes, shit stinks, but we’re people too and have respect for ourselves and for others; we are HUMANS, not the animals and degenerates administration paints us to be.
The second point we find crucial to address is the reported lack of safety staff experience in entering our bathrooms. Intentionally transforming the restrooms to be gender inclusive makes for a safe environment for our non-binary, genderqueer, and trans* activists. The staff’s documented removal of our gender-neutral bathroom signs represents a lack of administration prioritizing inclusivity. Their apprehension to enter these bathrooms are not a result of our “harassment” but an indication of UC Davis transphobia.
If we are making these UCD employees who make 5-6 figure salaries uncomfortable, then we are continuing to uphold part of our mission. We refuse to abide by the status quo. We won’t go home,
we won’t be silent, we won’t negotiate our demands. The protesters camping out on the 5th floor of Mrak refute any complaints grounded in a logic of “respectability,” i.e. “the protesters are not respectful towards the chancellor.”
We do not respect administration’s complicity with the general degradation and privatization of our public education. It is important we articulate this again to respond to and combat the tone and complaints by the provost. We want to emphasize that we have been maintaining a now 28-day sit-in because we are deeply concerned about the way our university is being run. We are forcefully inserting ourselves because student and worker voices should be at the center of how a university is run. We have been in the office of the chancellor for 28 days because we believe we can positively reassert the student-worker voice, not because we enjoy sleeping in Mrak Hall.
We also want to address the rhetoric of this as an “occupation” used by the provost as well as by ourselves. We recognize that we have not worked hard enough towards decolonizing our protest, and have then perpetuated the invisibility of Patwin people and land and Indigenous students, workers, and community members on this campus. We encourage other critiques of inclusivity and space from individuals who share our concerns with the privatization and neoliberalization of the UC.