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Speak Up For Education Now

As we wrote last week, next Thursday, March 1, is a day of action in support of higher education. We hope AAUP chapters, conferences, and individuals will use this day to speak up for higher education, whether by hosting an event or simply by writing a letter to the editor of a local newspaper or state legislators about the situation in your state.

Why? Because higher education in this country is rapidly deteriorating. Budget cuts and budget allocation decisions are undermining quality. Class sizes are growing. Tuition and fees are increasing dramatically as costs of education are shifted from the public to individual students, often in the form of student loan debt. A majority of faculty jobs are now part time, with very low compensation and few protections for academic freedom. And even full-time faculty are increasingly insecure, with collective bargaining under attack in many states and faculty participation in governance attenuated in others. One member’s response to last week’s e-mail highlights the real-life consequences of these developments: “My plan for Occupy Education is to stay employed. My administration is full of business people and lawyers, not educators. They…will not establish a tenure process because we are a teaching institution (why that matters is beyond me) and our ‘academic committee’ is.…there to rubber stamp whatever our administration wants to do. Were I to organize any activities like the ones suggested for Occupy Education, I would surely be out of a job.”

Those of us who can speak up must speak up now.

Take Action

  • Plan an event or action for March 1
  • Let me know about your plans at gbradley@aaup.org
  • Add your chapter or other group as an Occupy Education participant
  • Post a photo of yourself holding a sign that explains your views on higher education

Here’s a sampling of events planned on campuses and in cities around the country:
  • Indiana University: Panel and discussion
  • University of Delaware: Panel and discussion; writing to local newspaper
  • University of Colorado, Boulder: Rally and march
  • New York, multiple locations: Local actions at schools and campuses coming together for a rally at the NY Department of Education
  • California, multiple locations: Demonstrations on multiple campuses in the California State University system on March 1. On March 5, there will be a major mobilization in Sacramento, organized by student governments in the University of California, California State University, and community college systems
  • Washington, DC: March to Sallie Mae and the Department of Education
Resources Related Upcoming Event

April 1: Campaign for the Future of Higher Education day of action