Film & Panel: Hanging by a Thread


Geidt Hall, Room 1003

Panelists Include:

Adam Keigwin, Chief of Staff for Assemblymember Leland Yee

Nathan Brown, UC Davis Assistant Professor of English

Axel Borg, UC Davis Librarian

Danny Garcia, UC Davis Cook

Sergio Garcia, Sarah Augusto, and Kristin Koster, UC Davis Students

Barred Filmmaker’s New Film Screened at UC Davis

Exposes Impacts of UC’s Spending Priorities
Students and Staff Struggle to Hang On as $4 Million Spent On Executive Bonuses

Davis, California- Independent Filmmaker, Rico Chavez will release his new film,
Hanging by a Thread, at UC Davis this Wednesday, February 16th.  The film
illustrates the impacts of the University of California’s spending on
executives, faculty, students, and staff.  In response to a potential $500
million drop in state funding, the UC Regents’ and UC President Mark Yudof have
been discussing layoffs, course reductions, and turning away tens of thousands
of qualified students.  Simultaneously, they have approved more than $4 million
in executive bonuses and salary increases since December.

During the making of this film, UC’s police and top officials prevented Chavez
from bringing his camera to a public UC Regents’ meeting – a violation of state
law.   Hanging by a Thread examines the ongoing impacts of UC’s spending
decision from the perspective of students, staff and UC’s top leadership.  The
results are a telling story of students being priced out of public education,
low wage workers who are teetering on the brink of poverty, and executives’
lifestyles have grown more lavish.

“UC’s attempt to stop me made me wonder more than ever what their leadership had
to hide.  I was astounded to learn our great public university is prioritizing
its wealthiest executives, while students, faculty and staff struggle to hang
on. It is shameful. Everyone needs to see this film to understand UC executives’
decisions are not always best for average Californians and demand that UC start
to get its priorities straight.”
-Rico Chavez, Filmmaker

A piece of the film chronicles a day in the life of Maria Romero who cooks for
students at UC Santa Cruz.  Despite working fulltime, Maria cannot make ends
meet to support her three children.  Rising food, energy and gasoline costs only
make matters worse as Maria braces for the added pressure of higher benefit
costs for her family.

According to the California Budget Project – a nonpartisan and nonprofit
organization – Maria’s family needs $50,000 a year to have a modest family
budget in Santa Cruz County.  Maria’s current salary at UC, falls $20,000
short.  To survive, she is forced to work a second job, and often only sees her
children asleep before she leaves for work and when she returns.

After the screening, Adam Keigwin, Chief of Staff for Assemblymember Leland Yee;
Assistant Professor of English Nathan Brown; Librarian Axel Borg; UC Davis Cook
Danny Garcia; and students Sergio Garcia, Sarah Augusto, and Kristin Koster will
discuss the issues raised by the film and the audience will hear from other
members of the UC community who are also hanging by a thread.

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