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Students Sit In at U of VA, Prof. Arrested, Living Wage Demanded

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Throughout this Campaign, we have been very careful to guard the
authenticity of our intentions and the moral legitimacy of our methods. We
have been trained in nonviolent direct action, and have undertaken it in the
full knowledge of its potential consequences. We have sought a solution to
the problem of poverty wages in multiple and varied ways, but we have been
obstructed by the administration at every turn. We believe we have
reasonably met the condition of "self-purification."

Direct Action

We are sitting in because we have exhausted every avenue of dialogue with
the administration that could lead to a living wage. We are sitting in
because UVa's wage policies threaten the economic survival and violate the
dignity of University workers. And finally, we are sitting in because
poverty in our community is vicious and cannot wait any longer for remedy.

Our basic demand remains the same as always: All University employees,
whether directly employed or hired through outside firms, must be paid a
living wage of at least $10.72 per hour before benefits, adjusted at least
annually to inflation and the cost of living in Charlottesville. Complete
implementation also requires the following:

*Prioritization of currently employed workers. In implementing the living
wage policy and in related organizational changes, no jobs, wages, or
benefits will be eliminated or decreased as a result. Ultimately, the
University has a responsibility to all members of its Community of Trust,
and if contractors prefer to disengage from the University rather than
respect our commitment to social justice, the University has an obligation
to prioritize the employment of any workers who work under those
contractors, and ensure that their job status at the University will not be
eliminated as a result.

*Creation of an oversight committee. A committee should be formed to ensure
fair and complete implementation of the agreed upon policy. This committee
must include workers, students, faculty and administrators, and must work
within the timeline of implementing this living wage policy by the first day
of the 2006 Fall Semester.

Because our sit-in has been seriously considered and undertaken with the
best interest of the University deeply at heart, we also demand that no one
suffer disciplinary consequences or civil liability as a result of
participation in these acts of peaceful civil disobedience. These immunity
guidelines have routinely been demanded and met in the dozens of student
sit-ins that have taken place nationally during the last decade.

The administration takes responsibility for ensuring that the University is
a leader in terms of the students it produces, the faculty it attracts, and
the research it does, but fails in the moral vision that it offers to the
world. We will take that responsibility for this University that we love,
and will continue to sit-in until our conditions are met.

# # #

The Living Wage Campaign at the University of Virginia

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David Swanson is the author of "When the World Outlawed War," "War Is A Lie" and "Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union." He blogs at and and works for the online (more...)
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