by Aura, member of La Voz de los trabajadores
CASU’s (California Student Union) 4th Conference was only a two months ago, but its energy, ideas, and unity are still fresh in my mind. For this two-day conference, students and some teachers and community supporters from throughout CA gathered at City College of San Francisco. The location was particularly significant because of CCSF’s fight against ACCJC, the accreditation commission for community and junior colleges, that wants to downsize or shut down CCSF.
CASU addressed forming base groups on campuses that were present and to continue the links amongst the colleges that couldn’t attend this conference. A main debate was whether or not ‘bases’ or ‘locals’ would be autonomous or if there are any ‘bases’ in general. This debate was re-addressed at the Action portion of the conference. There was also consensus on the want and necessity for a general action, though a wavering vote on actually planning to create one was more dominant.
The conference also had a variety of workshops as well that included a discussion around SAVE CCSF and their battle with ACCJC and the appointment of a ‘special trustee’ that takes control over decision-making power. There was also a workshop about AB955, the recent bill passed by Governor Brown that allows the increase of summer & winter classes to be given at a ridiculous price for 6 pilot schools, and is moving education further into privatized hands. Another workshop was about the need fir more artistic expression and the strength of spoken word for movement building. Beside the focus on ACCJC and AB955, there were other workshops happening, including ones about broadening the social movement to take a stance on political questions, such as one on the Israeli occupation of Palestine.
As students, teachers and staff, we are faced with budget cuts that do not benefit our schools and that are only hindrances to what we truly need: a union that fights against cuts, accreditation issues, privatization overall, student’s rights to an adequate, accessible education for all!
So, what’s next?
As committees are being revived after CASU and regional conferences are being planned, we must remain in constant communication and outreach as much as possible in order to be visible and inclusive of our fellow classmates and teachers on our campuses.
We must also aim to maintain unity with the Save CCSF movement as we are organizing to fight particular issues on our campuses too, such as the newly appointed president of UC’s Janet Napolitano, and against AB955 and in solidarity with the 6 pilot schools chosen by it.