The California academic strike was a watershed moment in US higher education history. It took place on April 15th, 2020, involving over 100 colleges and universities across California. Led by the Academic Workers Association (AWA), the academic strike demanded increased job security for adjunct faculty, graduate student workers, and contingent intellectual labour in the face of budget cuts from Governor Gavin Newsom’s office.
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This unprecedented event captured national attention as it demonstrated collective action among university educators to protect their livelihoods and ensure quality instruction for students. Another important aspect of the strike was its intent to fight for racial equity within educational institutions, which has long been an issue in academia. As such, academics sought to raise awareness about issues related to hiring practices and educational resources for minority students. In the end, this strike helped to bring attention to the need for increased funding and better protections for college faculty and students in California. This milestone event will undoubtedly have a lasting impact on US higher education history.
By standing up and making their voices heard, academics across California highlighted the importance of fighting for better job security and equitable access to resources within academic institutions. The fight is still ongoing. However—the AWA continues to advocate on behalf of university educators by lobbying state government officials and organising public events. With every act of solidarity from its members, the AWA proves that collective action can make a real difference in improving conditions for college faculty and students. By working together, we can ensure
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