CFA Statement in Support of Scholar Strike

Faculty are organizing a grassroots nationwide Scholar Strike September 8 and 9. The organizers of the event are calling for faculty across the country to withhold their labor in order to call attention to violence against communities of color. The California Faculty Association supports the days of action, teach-ins and social justice advocacy as we head into the Labor Day weekend, a time to celebrate and recognize contributions of unions and the Labor movement.

Scholar Strike organizers recognize that some faculty are under contract, like CSU faculty, and work under “no strike” clauses. The organizers invite participants like CSU faculty to work “to the clock” or “work to contract” meaning teach classes, but refrain from other work in order to bring focus to the times we’re living in. Many of our leaders next week will take the topic to the classroom, as violence against communities of color is impacting them, their families, their colleagues, and their students in ways that make work and study impossible to perform as usual.

Last week, we saw professional athletes risk their jobs by calling for strikes, and many sporting events were cancelled. Los Angeles Clippers’ coach Doc Rivers explained the all too familiar tension, fear, and terror that Black athletes are experiencing at this time. “All you hear is Donald Trump and all of them talking about fear,” Rivers said of the Republican National Convention, “We’re the ones getting killed. We’re the ones getting shot. We’re the ones that we’re denied to live in certain communities. We’ve been hung. We’ve been shot. And all you do is keep hearing about fear.” Under this backdrop, athletes, Black and non-Black, committed to work stoppages and engaged in activities to support anti-racism and social justice including voter registration drives and expanding polling locations to take place in their arenas this election season.

CFA has been on the forefront of calling for change. CFA’s officers issued a series of demands to address anti-Black racism. We encourage faculty to use these demands for racial justice on September 8 and 9.

The CSU administration has done little beyond hollow expressions to confront systemic racism. Many of CSU’s leaders, including the Chancellor, fought CFA on passing legislation implementing an Ethnic Studies graduation requirement for the CSU. We would like to see the energy and passion they took fighting us redirected to enacting truly just policy and curriculum changes that higher education can and should provide to Californians.