U.S. Senator Kamala Harris has chosen to withdraw as the UC Berkeley 2018 commencement speaker in support of an ongoing UC labor strike. Senator Harris will be replaced by UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ.
“Due to the ongoing labor dispute, Sen. Harris regretfully cannot attend and speak at this year’s commencement ceremony at UC Berkeley,” said a statement from Senator Harris’ office. “She wishes the graduates and their families a joyous commencement weekend and success for the future. They are bright young leaders, and our country is counting on them.”
AFSCME 3299, the largest UC union, which represents over 25,000 employees, is on strike from May 7 to 9 after their bargaining demands were not met by the UC system. AFSCME 3299 is asking for an increase in wages, strengthening of sexual harassment protection, and maintaining healthcare costs.
AFSCME 3299 has also called for UC San Diego’s commencement speaker House Representative John Lewis to boycott speaking until their demands are met. Representative Lewis has yet to comment on whether he will withdraw from the event.
Ethan Coston is an Assistant News Editor for The Triton. You can follow him @Ethan4Books