︎ Communities of care and shared struggle - not competition for grades & grants.
Here at StrikeU, we envision a non-hierarchical space powered by cooperative learning. We see education as a communal activity that is grounded in uplifting others and having compassion for your fellow human beings. We aspire to take the stressful and competitive aspects of learning out of the picture and replace those burdens with systems of support and empathy. Community building & empowerment are values we center with every event.
︎ Public education, free and accessible for everyone - without student debt.
A university education is a privilege that many people may not be able to afford, and oftentimes, it is intentionally made unaffordable to keep marginalized folks on the margins of society. Strike University wants to change the notion that higher education can only be accessible to those who can afford it. We host workshops, teach-ins, reading groups, roundtables, and more, all free of charge. The public has the right to learn, and StrikeU strives to be a go-to resource that assists folks in their learning journeys. We strive to reimagine the education system by thinking about it through the lens of a people’s university, not a system rooted in profit.
Aside from financial accessibility, we do our best to ensure the accessibility of StrikeU itself. If you have any accessibility needs regarding using our website, viewing social media content, or the technology we use for our programs (such as Zoom), do not hesitate to send over an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the word ‘access’ in the subject line (not case-sensitive) so we can help find a solution!
︎Critical thinking and skills - not bound to the imperatives of the market.
StrikeU values the cultivation of knowledge and critical thinking skills without the sole intention of channeling them into the professionalized spheres. We believe these are critical and necessary skills regardless of whether capitalism defines them as useful or marketabl and give people opportunities to practice these skills in a variety of topics and a supportive learning environment
︎ Brilliance - without ‘experts’.
StrikeU values radical kindness and compassion while simultaneously acknowledging a variety of different knowledges and intelligences that have not been historically centered through academia. Everyone is capable of learning from & educating others, and we want to offer folks the platform to do so. StrikeU is open to workshops and teach-ins facilitated by any community member, not just university professors or UC scholars. We empower folks who want to host an event to do so and we will provide support in any way we can, from logistical help to pedagogical assistance. We value experiential knowledge and believe that a degree shouldn’t have the power to dictate who is brilliant and who isn’t.
︎Decolonize, democratize, queer, and abolish the university.
In particular, knowledges from oppressed communities have been kept out of the university. Strike U is committed to uplifting the wisdom and experience of Black people, trans people, working class people, indigenous people, people with disabilities, gender non-conforming and non-binary people, Latinx people, queer people, Muslims and other oppressed religious groups, women, people of color, and other marginalized groups. This requires us to radically transform the concept of the university, potentially abandoning it for another concept for learning altogether. By creating a radical alternative to the university where we reimagine what education can look like, Strike U offers a critique of the university as it exists today. We aim to decolonize the settler-colonial university, to democratize the hierarchical and elitist university, to queer the heteronormative and sexist university, and to abolish the university built on labor from enslaved people and profiting off of anti-Black racism and racial capitalism.
︎ Learn your power to organize personal and social transformation.
Strike U grew out of a movement moment, a wildcat strike initiated by UC Santa Cruz graduate students fighting for a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) to bring them out of rent burden in California’s racially gentrified affordable housing crisis. This strike swept to many other campuses in the UC system. Strike U rode the crest of this wave to create space for intercampus solidarity - shared dialogue, strategy, training, and learning for COLA and many other fights against the UCs and the academic industrial complex. As such, Strike U serves as an alternative institution, a picket line, for any movement fighting the UCs. Our “Wildcat Organizer School” also aims to teach organizing skills to sharpen any organizer’s game.
However, like too many political spaces that draw together people from various backgrounds in a whirlwind moment, COLA spaces have often replicated the very oppressive structures and behaviors that they claim to fight against. In COLA’s case this has often been racism, particularly anti-Black racism, which has harmed and marginalized participants. In our efforts to learn from movement mistakes, we at Strike U want to prevent and interrupt these harmful dynamics.
Some of the ways we do this are:
- reflecting on our identities and how they impact our organizing and organizational culture - actively building an internal culture that is anti-oppressive and challenges white supremacy work culture - working to resource (both financially and non-financially) marginalized knowledge-producers that contribute to Strike U - centering marginalized people and their perspectives in our programming and our organization - offering an intercampus space for reflection and accountability from COLA and union organizers