Question: Where is the place of anger in the university?
Recently I met a graduate student who is a couple of years ahead of me in my own department. His wife is also a graduate student in the same department. We got to talking about Cal’s childcare. He was as frustrated because, as he explained to me, since both he and his partner are working GSI’s, they make too much money to qualify for subsidized child care through the university, and they can’t afford it without said subsidy. Don’t forget that the monthly pay for GSI’s is well below the living wage in Alameda County.
Also recently I met a woman who has worked for the Art Department for over 16 years. She was walking her dog outside of Kroeber Hall one morning when we struck up a conversation. She was on the verge of tears when she told me that her higher-ups were deliberating on her fate: “in an effort to save money,” the powers that be were considering moving her and a whole host of other support staff to an office building down on 4th street.
Last Thursday my partner and I stopped by the cashier’s windows at the facility on Channing Street, where many people pay their tuition, rent, childcare, etc. I noticed a small sign in the window that proclaimed that the cashier’s windows would be closed on Fridays from here on out. When I inquired as to the reason from the be-cargo-shorted and shoeless undergraduate work-studier, I was told that it was “a funny story, actually:” since they were now responsible for concession stand sales on game day, they could not continue to operate in their traditional capacity: to accept payments for crucial services like tuition, rent, and childcare on Fridays – the payment of which carries a rather large weight for those of us who get paid on Fridays, and whose timely payment ensures a continued participation in the university.