March 10, 2010
With State University of New York administrators openly planning to centralize and overhaul the tuition processes throughout the system, New York faces a crisis in higher public education as devastating as California’s. In fact, some administrative proposals argue for an incremental 100% increase in SUNY tuition over the next 10 years. Here's a rundown on how NY campuses began to fight last week:
Stony Brook University:
Around 75 students rally and plan to storm a press conference between University President Stanley and SUNY Chancellor Zimpher. The action was thwarted when security somehow were informed of the action, and were able to pen students in barricades. The students were able to deliver a version of this note to President Stanley as he exited.
During a follow-up demonstration outside a closed press conference about SUNY cuts on March 8th, students were threatened with citation and harassed by police. More information here.
SUNY Purchase- A massive rally and brief occupation of the Student Services building ended after police invasion. Detailed report-back hopefully to come. More is likely to be planned at this weekend’s Active Resistance conference.
February 27, 2010
An excellent new zine from Hunter students preparing for the March 4th walkout:
We’re always told that if we work hard we’ll succeed.
We wake up in the morning, get ready, then go off to school, or work, or work AND school, so that we can have enough money to go about our lives today and get the credentials we need for tomorrow.
We spend all of our free time studying or trying to relax because of all the pressure.
Many of us come from immigrant families, who came to the US for freedom and economic opportunities. Some of us are descendants of slaves, and we’re told that now that we have a black president, racism is pretty much a thing of the past. We’re told that now, if we just work hard, if we obey the rules and don’t cause trouble, we can all live the American Dream.
But is this dream a reality?
Video: dance parties, smashed windows, ghost ridin’, burning dumpsters, whining liberals, and police lines in Berkeley
February 27, 2010
February 26, 2010
Berkeley, CA – Durant Hall (next to Wheeler Hall) is occupied. Hundreds have stormed this building (that is being renovated).
12:10am: some UCPD (~5) present around the building, still trying to figure out what’s going on. They are spotlighting people near the entrance with flashlights, but a green chain-link fence obscures most of their view. People are dancing right outside.
1:30am: About 200 people inside. Doors are wide open but barricades are set up to keep cops out. There’s a few police on each side, a few hundred feet away from the building. Durant is under construction, so random materials and fences are keeping police out for now. Organizers have released a statement: Why Durant Hall?
1:45am: Students have emptied out of Durant, now going down Telegraph Ave smashing windows and turning over trash cans.
1:50am: Riot police have blocked students at intersection of Telegraph and Durant. Source on the ground reported a trash can on fire. Random people are joining the street party that is forming.
1:57am: A dumpster has now been set on fire.
2:15am: From on the ground: “Real battle with cops, rioters winnin”. 25 riot cops, 300 rioters.
2:25am: So far 1 arrest reported. Students/rioters holding their ground against the cops.
2:35am: A 2nd arrest reported. Students not backing down.
2:55am: Still going strong, still breaking shit, no new arrests.
3:00am: Riot dissolves. BART and Berkeley police cars patrol the streets.
Video of one of the 2 (!) arrests:
Berkeley, CA – In Sproul Plaza of UC Berkeley, hundreds gathered for a dance party that began around 10pm on Thursday, February 25. At the peak of the party (around 12am) the 250 people dancing surrounded the loudspeakers as together they moved farther into campus. As we approached Durant Hall, a building currently being renovated, people began handing out communiques. We began to see a yellow light glow from inside the second story windows of the building, and then silhouettes of dozens of occupiers emerged. They rigged a few banners across the front of the building and descended to join the party. Read the rest of this entry »
February 25, 2010
Students, Faculty and Staff,
We are in a dire state.
We are currently in the throes of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. New York’s unemployment rate is at its highest level in almost seventeen years and is showing no sign of improvement. Yet in the midst of this, we’ve managed to neglect the greatest possible hope our country and our community has to offer: our institutions of public higher education.
Nationwide, tuition continues to skyrocket as federal aid stagnates under ever increasing financial pressure from public universities. Students are being priced out of higher education and privatization threatens the very existence of public education as know it. College has become out of reach for all but the most economically elite and tuition differentiation threatens to exacerbate the divide between the poor and the privileged.
We bailed out the banks. We bailed out the motor industry. Where is higher education’s reprieve? Now is not the time to abandon higher education. Now, more than ever, we need Albany to invest in SUNY and invest in our futures.
What began as an action in California to take a stand against tuition hikes of almost 32 percent has become a nationwide movement to defend public education against the risk of rising tuition, increased class size and delayed graduation time. Our colleagues at campuses across the country have put out a national appeal to protect higher education from the instabilities of unregulated tuition increases, and we, as concerned students of SUNY Purchase, have heeded the call.
This March 4, we must show Governor Patterson and President Schwarz that we will not acquiesce to the whims of shortsighted budget cuts and a privatization that goes against the character of our school and the integrity of the educational system. This March 4, we must join forces with students from across the country to protect and defend higher education. Read the rest of this entry »
February 24, 2010
January 14, 2010
Students are being forced to pay more for less. Government bureaucrats have slashed the higher education budget for the second straight year. And the cuts are only getting worse. Our tuition has ratcheted up 10% and the Post-Secondary Education Review Commission is discussing as much as a 30% increase next Fall. They have already cut classes and majors, jammed every class to bursting, layed off whole crews of UNO workers, and restricted access to labs and buildings. Dirt is piling up in the buildings and students are watching the classes they need to graduate evaporate.
The economic crisis has come home. This is a crisis created by policymakers in bed with Wall Street, not by the students, faculty, or workers at UNO, and WE WON’T PAY FOR THEIR CRISIS.
De-funding higher education is a sure way to keep Louisiana at the bottom of the heap and destroy any hope of a better future for our state.
This situation is untenable.
We urge faculty to discuss the budget cuts in their classes, the staff to organize strikes as the layoffs continue, and for students to take action against tuition increases and class cuts. Faculty, workers, students: stand together and halt the looting of public higher education in Louisiana!
20 of the 25 highest paid government employees in Louisiana are Louisiana university administrators. LSU System President John Lombardi makes $600,000 a year. What Lombardi hopes for is our silence as he dismantles the university with one hand and stuffs his pocket with the other. That is business as usual, for now, but it rests on our complacency in allowing it to function in this time of crisis.
We are the university, we can shut it down.
-A few fed up UNO students
December 10, 2009
By 5:40 AM, 24 hours after the occupation began, the administration had ordered the police to break through a window and arrest the occupiers, clear the supporting protest outside, and arrest anyone that got in the way. This despite yesterday’s administrative claims that the occupation posed no threat to the campus and administrators are interested in all voices being heard.
This has been pretty typical of how administrators act when they try to play the “supportive but eager to negotiate and find a peaceful resolution” card. Publicly they wish to appear to engage the occupiers in good faith, but behind the scene they are preparing for as covert and quick end by police, and doing things like shutting off the heat to the building.
This video shows the arrests, subsequent blockade of police cars, and arrest of those blocking the street. 33 were arrested in all.
There were also reports of police thwarting some sort of action by regrouping supporters at 6:30 AM. Hopefully the administration, now shown to be massive hypocrites, will recommend all 23 misdemeanor trespassing charges be dropped– on their own accord or forced by further student action like at UC Davis.
December 9, 2009
we are still here
December 9, 2009 by occupysfsu.wordpress.com:
To those disaffected and affected by the budget cuts.
To those laid-off faculty who have been sent off this campus because Robert Corrigan values his six-figure income more than your pedagogy.
To those workers, always the unseen heroes who are the first to take the sacrifices.
To those janitors, who were denied from doing their jobs because of us. We do this for you.
40 years ago on this campus, San Francisco State College gave in to the demands of the 5-month Ethnic Studies strike, which gained valuable educational and economic opportunities for all Black and Third-World people. Self-determination for people of color was the word of the day, and although concessions were made, the struggle for self-determination of the working-class has not ended, but is going through a new phase of global class struggle intensified by the polarization of capital and labor.
Also 40 years ago, Indians of All Nations took a famous federal property known as Alcatraz Island, or The Rock, and again occupied the land that Lakota Indians had taken years prior unsuccessfully. The organizers, American Indians from tribes all across the continent, included young Richard Oakes, a Mohawk SF State student. The occupation lasted 19 months, whereby the IAN demanded a new American Indian Center on the unused surplus property, created a Bureau of Caucasian Affairs to deal with the white man, and purchased the island with feathers and beads worth more than the money paid to the native inhabitants of Manhattan Island by colonialists.
From Student Activism:
Tomorrow is the one-week anniversary of the first University of California protests (and arrests) against the regents’ decision to impose huge new fees on the students of the system, and UC’s activists show no signs of letting up.
Today saw a rally and march on the main administration building at UC Irvine, and the first arrest of the week at that campus. It also saw a candlelight vigil — still ongoing — at UC Berkeley, in the wake of the news that the university will be investigating charges of excessive police force at protests there last week.
And at UC Davis, where 52 protesters were arrested in an occupation of administration building Mrak Hall last Thursday, students are hunkering down for the night at Mrak again. The Davis activists’ blog reports that between sixty and seventy students are in Mrak now, and they’ve “made a commitment to stay the night.” They’re dancing, they’ve ordered pizza, and they’re settling in to chat about demands.
From Democracy Now:
As UC Berkeley Investigates Police Brutality Against Students Protesting Fee Hikes, a Report From Inside the Takeover of Wheeler Hall
The University of California, Berkeley is investigating allegations of police brutality against students and workers protesting fee hikes and budget cuts last week. 40 students were arrested Friday night after campus police entered Wheeler Hall, which the students had taken over earlier in the day. The students were part of a statewide movement protesting the UC Board of Regents decision to raise tuition by 32 percent. Independent journalist Brandon Jourdan, who was embedded with the students inside the occupied building on Friday, files a report for Democracy Now!