Spring 2012 – Santa Monica College


On Saturday, May 19, 2012, more than 100 participants from 26 schools from across California and across educational sectors attended the first California Student Union Organizing Conference at Santa Monica College, located in Los Angeles, California. Participants in attendance included students, faculty, education workers, community members, and other concerned groups. The Conference was a manifestation of a call put out by the Student Union Committee of the Southern California Education Organizing Coalition on March 24, 2012 which addressed the necessity to initiate the formation of a statewide student union. The Conference provided the initial space for students to present, discuss, and build agreement on proposals for the formation of the California Student Union, and marked the first efforts to address collectively the limitations of our existing campus-based and regional organizing structures in the face of attacks on public education at the statewide, national, and international levels.

Conference participants presented and discussed proposals on the Student Union mandate, principles, and organizational structure, set up summer working groups to push forward this project, and voted for the next Conference to be held in Northern California in either September or October, with the final date being determined by the logistical availability of the hosting campus. While agreeing to discuss, debate, and solidify the full content of the Student Union mandate, principles, and organizational structure at the next Conference, we united around the “spirit” of the following working mandate and principles:


  • To Fight for the Right of all Students to Equal Access to a Free, Quality, Public Education
  • To Fight for Democratic Governance of the Schools by Students, Staff and Faculty
  • To Unite and Fight for All Sectors of Public Education across California
  • To Fight Against Oppression in the Movement, in Society, and Everywhere


  • Participatory Democracy
  • Orientation Towards Mobilization and Mass Direct Action
  • Political Independence
  • Student and Worker Solidarity and Unity in Struggle
  • National and International Solidarity
  • Against Repression: in Defense of Free Speech, Academic Freedom, and the Right to Protest

Conference participants also acknowledged international educational struggles by approving to sign a letter expressing solidarity with professors on strike in more than three dozen of Brazil’s Federal Universities. Conference participants also approved signing an International Manifesto put out by the Brazilian Student Union (ANEL) calling for increasing coordination in struggle between student movements throughout the world.

Over the summer, regional and campus-based working groups will collaborate to develop plans for building the California Student Union at the grassroots level. A Communications & Media Team was established to manage and update the website, listserv, and other online communications. A Facilitation Team was also set up to begin organizing the next Conference.

Campuses, groups, and individuals are welcome to submit proposals at any time regarding the Student Union’s mandate, principles, functioning, or campaigns, to be discussed at the next Student Union Conference. The complete list of participating schools, full text of the Student Union Mandate & Principles, motions of international solidarity, and all of the proposals presented at the Conference are available below and on this website.

In Love & Solidarity,
CA Student Union Communications & Media Team
May 29, 2012


Call for the Formation of a Statewide Student Union (3/24/12)
Finalized CA Student Union Conference Agenda (5/19/12)
Manifesto of International Student Struggle (5/19/12)
Letter of Solidarity to Brazilian Professors (5/19/12)
CA Student Union Public Statement (5/29/12)
Compiled Conference Proposals (5/19/12)


Kindergarten to 12th Grade —
Santa Monica High School
Los Angeles Unified School District

California Community Colleges —
Santa Monica College
Los Angeles City College
Pasadena City College
City College of San Francisco
Berkeley City College
El Camino College
Los Angeles Valley College
Downey Career College
Compton Community College
Long Beach City College
Palomar Community College

California State Universities —
San Francisco State University
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
San Diego State University
California State University, Los Angeles
California State University, Northridge
California State University, Long Beach
California State University, Dominguez Hills

Universities of California —
University of California, Los Angeles
University of California, Berkeley
University of California, Santa Cruz
University of California, Irvine

Private Universities —
Whittier College
Colorado College


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