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Articles tagged student activism


Students for a #FreeCooperUnion Occupy to Preserve the Right to Education

Posted 1 year ago on Dec. 5, 2012, 11:48 a.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Tags: occupation, education, student activism, austerity, nyc

cooper union building with banner reading Free Education To All

Students have been occupying the Cooper Union clock tower since Monday and 11 students are still locked-down! Today at 2pm come join Cooper students, faculty, OWS, All in The Red, US Uncut, and others to show your support for the right to education.

For more information, you can also see their Facebook page, follow @FreeCooperUnion on Twitter (#CULockIn, #savecooper, #FreeCooperUnion) or go to http://www.cusos.org/.

Students for a Free Cooper Union issued the following communique on Dec. 3rd:

Students for a Free Cooper Union lock-in to Cooper Union’s Foundation Building to preserve free education

We, the Students for a Free Cooper Union, in solidarity with the global student struggle and today’s Day of Action, have locked ourselves into The Peter Cooper Suite on the top floor of Cooper Union’s Foundation Building. This action is in response to the lack of transparency and accountability that has plagued this institution for decades and now threatens the college’s mission of free education.

We have reclaimed this space from the administration, whom we believe is leading the college in the wrong direction. In recent years, plans to expand Cooper Union with tuition-based, revenue generating educational programs have threatened the college’s landmarked tradition of “free education to all.” These programs are intended to grow the college out of a financial deficit caused by decades of administrative mismanagement. We believe that such programs are a departure from Cooper Union’s historic mission and will corrupt the college’s role as an ethical model for higher education. To secure this invaluable opportunity for future generations, we have taken the only recourse available to us.

We will hold this space until action has been taken to meet the following demands:

1) The administration must publicly affirm the college’s commitment to free education. They will stop pursuing new tuition-based educational programs and eliminate other ways in which students are charged for education.

2) The Board of Trustees must immediately implement structural changes with the goal of creating open flows of information and democratic decision-making structures. The administration’s gross mismanagement of the school cannot be reversed within the same systems which allowed the crisis to occur. To this end, we have outlined actions that the board must take

  • Record board meetings and make minutes publicly available.
  • Appoint a student and faculty member from each school as voting members of the board.
  • Implement a process by which board members may be removed through a vote from the Cooper Union community, comprised of students, faculty, alumni, and administrators.

3) President Bharucha steps down.

Principles

Higher Education Bubble

The over-inflated costs of higher education have placed more than a trillion dollars of debt onto the backs of students. Higher education should be a means of social mobility and intellectual liberation, but it has devolved into an industry that exploits students for profit. Inevitably this bubble will burst and what appears to be a healthy and growing educational system will be revealed as a model that was always doomed to fail.

Grow Down

The administrators who have grown us into this mess are trying to grow us out of it. Investing in the higher education bubble is short-sighted and uncreative. Playing a larger role in one’s community provides strong roots. If we refuse to invest in a growth model and reaffirm our mission, we stand to see the principles of free education bring life back to our own community and other institutions as well.

Structures for Transparency and Integrity

Bloated and visionless administrations have become an epidemic threatening institutions of higher education all across America. We must rebuild the governance of these institutions with open flows of information and democratic decision-making structures. Carrying a mission such as free education will require principled, rather than self-sustaining, leadership.

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Berkeley Students Occupy Campus Building To Defend Multicultural Education

Posted 1 year ago on Nov. 27, 2012, 10:35 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Tags: uc-berkeley, education, occupy cal, student activism, austerity, california

banners dropped from occupied Cal building

via Reclaim UC:

Eshelman Hall Barricaded in Defense of Multicultural Student Spaces

This afternoon, a group of students barricaded themselves on the sixth floor of Eshelman Hall at UC Berkeley, reclaiming a building that has been designated for demolition and demanding that the Administration abandon plans to cut support for the recruitment and retention of students of color. At this point, a couple hundred supporters have gathered in lower Sproul Plaza, while the police have closed off the building. Those barricading the building are calling on supporters to gather at Eshelman in order to protect those inside and intensify the force of their resistance.

The demands:

  • We Demand that the Multicultural Student Development Offices be restored to their former structure by Vice Chancellor Gibor Basri. Countless students and the ASUC as an entity have voiced this opinion and received no changes.

  • We demand that the budget allocation of the multicultural student development offices be increased to meet the needs of their work.

  • We demand that none of the peaceful protesters in this occupation receive any punishment or repercussions for this activity.

  • We demand an increase in funding for the Recruitment and Retention Center to assist in their mission of increasing the enrollment of underrepresented minorities on campus.

More information from The Daily Californian: "Protesters occupy Eshleman Hall to press for multiculturalism on campus":

An estimated six students began occupying Eshleman Hall Tuesday afternoon as part of an awareness campaign regarding the campus’s multicultural retention center and minority enrollment. Over 100 students, including Occupy Cal protesters and BAMN affiliates, stood outside the building chanting in support of the campaign. [...] Protesters in the crowd said there were at least two students inside who had chained themselves to the building by the neck. On Tuesday evening, campus spokesperson Claire Holmes said the administration does not currently have any plans to remove the protesters. [...] The protesters inside are purportedly from Raza Recruitment and Retention Center, a campus group that aims to increase Hispanic enrollment in higher education, and REACH!, which aims to serve Asians and Pacific Islanders on campus.

via @meganmesserly

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Students Converge At Obama Office To Reclaim Voice

Posted 1 year ago on Aug. 14, 2012, 12:52 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Tags: anti-war, gender & sexuality, racial justice, education, student activism, student power 2012

crowd of students marching in columbus

via StudentPower2012

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Students from across the country marched from Ohio State University Student Union to President Obama’s campaign office to hold a press conference yesterday, calling into question the injustices of our current economic and political system. In an era where our political process is gridlocked by the influence of money and corporate power, our society has systematically diverted resources from the bottom to the top to fund a frenzy of profit seeking.

The demonstration highlighted how our electoral system and politicians have failed our youth on the critical issues of education, gender equality, racial justice, environmental sustainability, and basic respect for human rights. Neither party has the audacity to confront these injustices, nor do they attempt to facilitate any type of connection with us on these issues, which disproportionately affect women, LGBTQ people, youth, and people of color.

Akin Olla, an organizer from New Jersey, states: “It is important to recognize that not only are racism and discrimination against people of color still present in the United States, but they are playing a huge factor in the future for the youth of color by limiting our access to education, personal liberty and the right to feel safe in our own communities.”

Although women and LGBTQ people have won notable gains in recent years, Raquel Valesquez of Arizona gets to the heart of how the current system is one of structural inequality: “As we speak, women and LGBTQ people are refusing to accept the old idea of what our rights should be and are demanding change towards the true needs of our communities. As we are denied security in the workplace and safety in the streets; as our survivors of violence are blamed for their traumas while perpetrators are excused; while the state tightens its grip on our bodies through criminalization, incarceration, and abortion bans, we demand more than the right to military and marriage.”

Along with gender and sexuality injustice, we have learned that no matter who we vote for, we cannot avoid the controlling interests of corporations such as Goldman Sachs and Exxon Mobil dominating our political process. The corporate framework dictates infinite growth and accumulation of profit no matter what the environmental and human costs are. Tabitha Skervin of Michigan State University sums it up by saying, “You can preach economic growth all day but there are no jobs on a dying planet."

The United States currently maintains a massive military machine responsible for the inhuman attempt to maintain and increase domination over the planet. We are outraged that more than $1 trillion of the annual federal budget is allocated towards sustaining the military-industrial complex instead of socially beneficial services such as accessible education. Within our borders, youth are growing up in a militarized society. The United States military targets low income and youth of color with manipulative promises of enlistment being the doorway to education and enrichment. We do not condemn individual soldiers whose bodies becomes tools of the state, used and then discarded to suffer untreated from the traumatic consequences of their service. Aislinn Bauer from New York City states, “We believe that the massive expenditures of taxpayer money should be redirected towards enhancing socially beneficial services like accessible education rather than furthering the interests of multinational corporations such as Big Oil and agribusiness and monitoring and criminalizing our own population. Money for jobs and education, not for war and occupation!”

We are now raising our voices to join the rallying cry of student movements across the world, addressing common global grievances, and resisting a system that does not serve the majority of us. Noting that access to higher education has become increasingly out of reach for much of the population due to skyrocketing tuition and burdensome loans, Lainie Rini of Ohio State University compares our education system to a factory: “Our current education system denies anyone but the privileged access to quality education. It is farming students for profit rather than being a space for inquiry and thought.”

The current situation has demonstrated that we cannot passively depend upon our leaders to save our society. We call for American youth to take action much like students across the globe in places like Quebec, Mexico, Chile, Spain, and Puerto Rico, who are mobilizing to demand their rights. Democracy cannot exist without demonstration and debate in public spaces. This fall, regardless of where we lie on the political spectrum, it is crucial that we come together on campuses across the country to reclaim our future before it’s too late. Join us November 14th-21st as part of a global week of student action, demonstrating that we in the U.S. are committed to global justice and the international student movement. Here. Us. Now.

WEB: www.studentpower2012.org
TWITTER: @studentpower12 #HereUsNow
FACEBOOK: facebook.com/StudentPower2012

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