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Occupy Hudson Valley and Bard College Student Movement
Activist and senior at Bard College Ana Ratner joins the discussion on the Occupy Colleges student movement in the Hudson Valley. Ana, Michael Ratner’s daughter, discusses the mistreatment of workers at the college, specifically employment contractors.
- I think people on their own at Bard College had been concerned about the Occupy movement. It was around that time when people found each other and wanted to do something, weekly teach-ins, general assemblies.
At Bard we have a subcontractor called Aramark. They treat their workers very badly.
Through the Occupy movement more kids on campus are becoming concerned about workers’ rights and financial transparency and where our money is going, how it effects and who it effects.
Occupy Poughkeepsie, a local movement, trying to connect the regions in the Hudson Valley. Occupy Hudson Valley (Facebook link). They have tents and a kitchen.
At Bard College: until the Occupy movement, no one really came together. I’m learning about the whole community at Bard.
For the most part the workers are mostly invisible, they clean your dorm and campus. There’s a group called the Student-Labor Dialogue.
Aramark was kicked off Bard College, now they want to hire another contractor.
Guest – Ana Ratner, activist and senior at Bard College. Ana has been active with the Occupy Colleges student movement and Occupy Wall Street.
Occupy Colleges: Los Angeles and Beyond
Last week, hundreds of students walk out of class and assembled in Union Square Park to demonstrate continued support with the Occupy Wall Street movement. The protests in New York City was part of a full week of student organized action that culminated in a march to Baruch College. This was where the CUNY Board of Trustees had met to vote on a possible tuition increase. Police and students clashed in the lobby in massive brawls; 15 people were arrested.
- OccupyColleges.org is all of the facilitators, it helps inform college students about the occupy movement.
- Ongoing Occupy Colleges action such as walkouts, teach ins, strikes, demonstrations
- Monday, November 28th – in solidarity with UC Davis, UC Berkeley, CUNY schools and all students who are defending their right to protest against rising tuition cost and out-of-control student debt. We ask you to STRIKE! No work, no school.
- We’re also circulating a pledge of non-violence both for students and the UC Davis Presidents of all the eleven schools to commit to non-violence against students for a peaceful demonstration.
- It gets harder to enforce non-violence as they continue to hurt us.
- Non-violence is our weapon.
- We’ve noticed that it’s all different types of schools, it’s private schools, it’s public schools, it’s community colleges, state colleges, the higher university levels, we really see the whole gamut of students that are joining us.
- It’s horizontal, like the regular Occupy Wall Street movement runs.
- We’re fighting the rising cost of tuition, the student loan fiasco and the fact that we have a lack of opportunities after graduation.
- Michael Ratner: Hunter College had no tuition from 1874 to 1975. One hundred years without tuition, so we see the shift that’s going on.
- It’s three times higher than it was in 1980.
- One of my first points of action is that these administrators need to take pay cuts.
- A lot of us got together from Occupy L.A. and from some past activist groups and we saw that New York schools were calling for a citywide walk out on October 5th and we noticed there wasn’t a national presence.
- We called for a national walk out and had 100 schools participate, almost 8,000 students walk out. The interest from all of the students compelled us to continue with this movement. We give ideas to schools on how to set up their occupation. We want to have a very large teach in in the early spring.
- When somebody else gets tired, somebody else is there to take their place.
- There are always new schools calling us and signing up.
- I was called by the Student Tea Party, who were horrified by the violence. The Student Tea Party condemned the violence that happened at UC Davis.
- “When we’re a non-violent movement the only way we can lose is by giving up.” – Gene Sharpe
University Faculty, Staff and Students Disgusted at Direction of California State University
Each year, the state of California makes cuts to the California State University system budget and each year students have responded with angry protests. This year, however, the protests were much bigger partly because of the Occupy Wall Street movement and the ongoing police brutality against students and protesters. The numbers are staggering: tuition has doubled in the last few years and the California State University Board of Trustees recently approved a 9% tuition increase in addition to cuts in courses and student services. Next year, the California legislature is set to impose another $200 million in higher education cuts. Meanwhile, college students from all over the nation have organized four nationwide acts of support with the Occupy Wall Street movement.
- We have about 430,000 students in the California State University system.
- The number one struggle faculty are facing is the defunding, the starvation of public higher education. That creates one set of problems.
- Piled on top of that is what we consider to be misplaced priorities. At a time when resources aren’t that available, you really have to be careful and targeted in how you use the resources you have.
- The students, staff and faculty are disgusted at how the leadership has a focus on their one percent.
- There’s an enormous resonance with the Occupy movement because these are good middle class jobs that are being destroyed.
- Our students are watching their parents get shoved out of the middle class and hoping their education is a pathway into a decent life.
- People have finally emerged from the shock of what’s been happening, and are getting angrier and angrier and getting less tolerant of adjusting to it.
- Demand: that the resources that are available be directed at the core mission of the university.
- We’re all over the state and our faculty have been part of Occupy Oakland and everwhere.
- We’ve got to take back more power and authority over our own destiny.
- Student loans are crushing our students, the leadership of the CSU and the UC systems seem to think the answer to their problems is privatizing the university by shifting economic responsibility to students, faculty and staff.
- They’re using us like ATM machines. We’re all being exploited and asked to be unwilling donors to the university.
- Occupy Wall Street has opened up a door to a conversation that is so long overdue.
Guest – Lillian Taiz, President of the California Faculty Association, the union that represents the 23,000 faculty members of the California State University system. To clarify, this is not the University of California system, where the pepper spray incident took place.