NYC Students Hold Week of Action Against Tuition Hikes, Student Debt n Solidarity with Occupy Wall Street
By Mel Fabrikant Monday, November 14 2011 @ 04:09 PM EST
Student supporters of Occupy Wall Street will hold actions every day this week at universities throughout New York City to draw attention to issues such as student debt, tuition hikes, university ties to Wall Street, workers’ rights and structural inequalities within our schools and our communities. Actions are scheduled to take place at various City University of New York (CUNY) campuses, Columbia, the New School, New York University, Pratt, Juilliard and more. A full calendar of NYC actions, locations and times is available here:
The NYC student actions are also in solidarity with Occupy Cal (Berkeley) students, who have faced repeated police assaults and are calling for a strike and day of action on Tuesday, November 15. (Video: http://berkeleycuts.org/?p=132
Among highlights of the week’s events are:
• A protest at Columbia on Monday, November 14 at 12 p.m. calling on law professor Michael Sovern, chairman of the board of Sotheby’s, to end the auction house’s lock-out of its art handlers.
• A guest lecture by Indian author and activist Arundhati Roy in Washington Square Park on Wednesday, November 16 at 12:30 p.m. This is part of the ongoing “People’s U” series organized by student group NYU 4 Occupy Wall Street.
• A city-wide student strike on Thursday, November 17. Students will converge on Union Square at 3 p.m.
• A rally and march on Monday, November 21 beginning at 3 p.m. from Madison Square Park to Baruch College, where there will be a CUNY Board of Trustees public hearing. The Board has decided on 5 years of tuition hikes for students who are already struggling to cover costs.
• Teach-ins at colleges throughout the city about direct action, anti-oppression, privilege and the legacy of student activism.
The New York City All-City Student Assembly, along with General Assemblies at various NYC colleges, coordinated the week of action in response to a number of disturbing trends, such as student debt in the United States surpassing credit card debt.
“Students now face two choices–tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt or not attending school at all,” said Brittany Robinson, a student at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn. “Education should be an inherent right, not a privilege.” According to the Project on Student Debt, college seniors who graduated in 2010 carried an average of $25,250 in student loan debt.
“The lack of emphasis on accessible higher education for everyone, the quiet privatization of our campuses, the mistreatment of our professors and the in-school policing of students and their non-criminal activity is a disgrace to our country,” said Emma Francis-Snyder, a student at CUNY Brooklyn College.
“This week of action will be an incredible demonstration of student power,” said Dan DiMaggio, a student at New York University. “It is a step toward an education system geared toward the needs of the 99%.”
The New York City All-City Student Assembly convenes students from universities across New York and the region to discuss common concerns regarding the state of higher education and to coordinate efforts occurring on our campuses. We are inspired by and in solidarity with the greater Occupy Wall Street movement. The Assembly meets every Saturday at noon in Washington Square Park. Learn more at http://studentweekofaction.wordpress.com