Consolidating College Diversity Departments? CA Austerity Measures Attempt to Silence Those Who Critique Them
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Stevenson said she’s already seen cuts at her university after only her second year there, noting specifically the elimination of a tutoring program designed to help students across all majors.
About 25 students, faculty and workers were allowed to attend the public comment section of the UC Regents meeting, where they made speeches demanding the regents stop fee hikes, cuts and deals with Wall Street.
Shanell Williams, the Associated Students president of CCSF, who was there in solidarity with the UC students spoke during this period:
I just want to say shame on you. This is not business as usual. These are people’s lives ... So the UC system, the CSU system, K-12, and the community college system, we’re organizing and we’re coming together because we see a trend. We are connecting the dots. This is about holding Wall St. accountable …This is an outrage. All of you around here have your degrees, right? … We want that same opportunity.
Public comment was limited to one minute each, while the regents looked on with expressionless faces and interrupted with “Time! Time!” when the minute was up.
“Seeing that board just reaffirmed for me how much that the 1 percent doesn’t give a fuck,” Williams said later that day. “They don’t give a fuck about us, about our communities, about our struggles because they’re getting paid.”
When public comment ended, about 10 students stood up chanting in order to disrupt “business as usual,” and were eventually escorted out.
You can watch here:
Throughout Thursday, protesters at both actions made sure to express that what is happening in San Francisco is just a microcosm for austerity and privatization happenings throughout the world as money from corporations continues to pour into politics. Williams mentioned ALEC, Campaign for College Opportunity and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as examples of private foundations heavily lobbying Sacramento to transform education because they have investments in private institutions. Williams said this system is going to push hard to enforce privatization and cuts.
“If they can do it here, in San Francisco, one of the most liberal progressive cities in the world, they can do it anywhere,” she said.
As higher education continues to teeter on the edge of being simply another business or a place where people can learn to question themselves and the world around them, students across the world are struggling to resist the corporatization of education.
Tarik Farrar, chair of the African American Studies department at CCSF told students:
We’re not a relatively small rally in San Francisco. All over the world, today, there are people fighting against what we’re fighting against. … The attack on the diversity departments is the first step, and it’s part of an assault on you and education. Because when they tell us they’re bringing in a business model, what that means is that you are dollar signs. … That’s what they’re telling us to do with you is generate revenue. … That’s the business model. You cut back salaries, you cut back benefits, you turn out cheap products, you make people pay more, and then you raise your salary, you give yourself a bonus. This is not moral. Make them have a moral argument with you … and you’ll win.