From the Sit Down in LA, tired but steadfast

6 May

Vote counting was set to resume yesterday morning at 9am–and the elections committee along with official challengers and supporters did convene. But now it’s Friday morning and still the counting of the ballots hasn’t actually begun. The entire day was spent discussing the presence of a mediator and preparing ballots to be counted. Here is an update from a UCLA AWDU activist who has been part of the sit down there since Saturday evening.

“We are very tired.

We are tired from sleeping on the office floor for the fifth night, only to make sure of the integrity of the ballots. When no attempts whatsoever had been made from either the current administrations of UAW 2865 or the candidates from USEJ (many of whom serve as current staff and leaders) to attend to the boxes, we took it upon ourselves to guard the two locked doors 24/7 because we respect the members who voted and we want their ballots to be counted.

We do not know whether counting the ballots will win us the election. Given how heavily outnumbered I was when campaigning at certain polling locations at UCLA, I personally do not think I will win a position. But this is an election, and counting the votes is what we should do. To do that, we must secure the integrity of the ballots. That is why we are doing what we are doing. We do not understand why the current leadership never made any attempt to secure the ballots. I believe they owe the voters the responsibility to secure the fairness of the ballots.

But while we struggle to do the job of the election committee neglected to do, everyday we wake up to yet another public slander on our friends from the current president of UAW 2865. They are slanders that use shiny keywords with immediate effect and little content, but they hurt, deeply.

I started the campaign talking to members on campus what we envision to be a better union. I was ecstatic to hold long conversations with students across the campus who share my concern for the budget cuts and the same devotion to our students. But four o’clock in the morning last Wednesday, the night after the first election day, I found myself writing a response to accusations of racism targeted at my slate. At noon on the same day, I found myself outside math science building, bewildered, trying to tell voters that we do not hate scientists, if ever the four canvassers from USEJ were not physically blocking me from getting near the voters. Today, I found myself reading another email from the UAW president telling me I am probably an intimidating, harrasing thug since I am an AWDU candidate.

I am five feet five, Asian, an international student, and a woman. I am indeed a humanities student, but I have taught at least 10 science students every quarter in the past 6 quarters. I never thought of emphasizing any of these things because I am not running for identity, I am running for a vision of a democratic union.

I care to win only because I think the campus deserves a more involved union. But if the strategy to win requires public slanders and personal attacks, I do not care to win enough. I refuse to dance around their accusation and provocation any longer. I have never called anybody names, and I am not about to start. I will not stop fighting for public education, and it will just be a pity if I am not able to be involved in the union.

All my friends in AWDU share the same sentiment, and I am deeply sorry for my friends whose name have been thrown about in careless accusations.”

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One Response to “From the Sit Down in LA, tired but steadfast”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Student Employees Union Election Still Stalled in California « Student Activism - May 6, 2011

    [...] and mediators for a resumption of the count, but that resumption, slated for yesterday morning, hasn’t yet occurred. Meanwhile, the two sides continue to exchange accusations on their respective blogs (USEJ and [...]

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