Guest Commentary: UCLA Chapter of UC-AFT Local 1474 Condemns Arrests of Contingent Faculty and Librarians for Protecting Students

screenshot from video posted on X

In the early morning hours of May 2, when law enforcement stormed our UCLA campus, they arrested six members of UC-AFT (American Federation of Teachers) Local 1474 who were joining in peaceful solidarity with UCLA students. The detained UC-AFT members are all contingent and temporary workers without the protections of tenure who risked their bodies and their livelihoods to protest non-violently according to their conscience and consistent with their academic expertise.

In the words of one arrested UC-AFT member, “We believed that by putting ourselves on the front lines, we could discourage police brutality, or at least redirect it to ourselves.” Another adds, “When we identified ourselves as librarians, lecturers, or staff, the police began to intentionally target and pick us out from the crowd. They visibly became more angry and brutal in their targeting.”

We deplore the traumatizing arrests of faculty, librarians, and nearly 200 even more vulnerable students. We are horrified by the militarization of our campus through the use of rubber bullets, stun grenades, and other weapons. We are witnessing the disastrously failed leadership of higher education’s executive administrators at UCLA and nationwide.

We recognize this as a historic moment. We are in this crisis not only because of the devastation in Gaza but also because our nation’s higher education system has been co-opted by donors, investors, and others who have sought for decades to privatize what ought to be a public good.

Instead of being guided by principles of teaching, learning, research, and service, administrators exploit precarious and casualized labor in order to intimidate faculty and staff through threats of job loss. Their attempt to obtain complacency by depriving us of job security tramples academic freedom, suppresses faculty governance, and appropriates power that rightfully belongs to students, faculty and staff.

By putting themselves on the line to support their students, our courageous UC-AFT faculty and librarians are rejecting this system and recalling us all to the true purpose and mission of higher education.

We commit to protecting and defending our fellow union members against retaliation by the UCLA administration. We elevate our students’ demands for justice, insist on amnesty for members of our UCLA community, call for the immediate resignation of Chancellor Gene Block, and commend the extraordinary resolve of our co-workers to stand up for public higher education as a common good that is conducive to dialogue, debate, and non-violent protest.

The UCLA Chapter of UC-AFT Local 1474 includes more than 1,700 contingent teaching faculty, librarians, K-12 teachers, supervisors of teacher education, and field work coordinators at UCLA. UC-AFT Local 1474 represents 7,000 lecturers, librarians, and other educators at all University of California campuses and is an affiliate of CFT and AFT.

About The Author

Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

Related posts

Leave a Reply

X Close

Newsletter Sign-Up

X Close

Monthly Subscriber Sign-Up

Enter the maximum amount you want to pay each month
Sign up for