Update: UC Santa Cruz campus open today Entrances were blocked and classes were canceled on Thursday

File photo by Charlotte West

Update: The UC Santa Cruz residential campus is open Friday morning after protesters barricaded the two entrances during what they called #UCBlackout on Thursday to protest the university’s refusal to increase housing reimbursements to teaching assistants.

An advisory from university officials, sent Friday at 8 a.m., noted that picketers remain at the main entrance to campus, but traffic is flowing freely in and out of the university.  

By Charlotte West

Campus officials at the University of California Santa Cruz say the residential campus is shut down and that classes scheduled today have been canceled.

Both entrances to the campus were blocked by students who are protesting the firings of graduate-student who have been striking over the cost of living in Santa Cruz, but the west entrance was reopened at mid-afternoon. Still, the campus resembles a ghost town.

Students on Twitter are calling the action #UCBlackout. Streets were barricaded by activists, who wore black clothing, before sunrise this morning.

A student protest leader would not elaborate about how long the action would continue. “We are continuing to strike,” said Yulia Gilichinskaya. “We are trying to assert that business is not as usual, and firing 80 people is not normal. And we can’t continue as normal and pretend like nothing happened.”

She said the United Auto Workers, who represents the striking teaching assistants, is preparing an unlawful labor practice charge against the university and a ratification vote for a sanctioned strike. She said the wildcat strike “absolutely” forced the union to take action.

In an advisory sent to university staff at 6:40 a.m. today, the university notified instructors that the residential campus was closed.

“Instructors are encouraged to communicate directly with their students to let them know whether classes are proceeding with alternate arrangements or whether class is cancelled,” according to the message.

“Additionally, faculty, students, and staff should not come to the residential campus, given that access is significantly impacted at this time. Staff members should check in with supervisors and managers to discuss their schedules and alternate work locations.”

Earlier in the day, university officials said that morning classes were canceled, but they updated that advisory a couple hours later to announce that the all classes scheduled on Thursday were canceled.

Voices will update this story throughout the day.

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