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Daily Kos had a post yesterday describing an unsettling move by folks on the far-right to reassert themselves on a campus only now starting to recover from its history as a right-wing institution. The jist:
Yes, that's right: Thomas Friedman got pied.
(looks like the YouTube video got yanked. It's available here on Google Video, for now at least...)
It's long overdue that this guy get exposure to the taste of sweet, goopy justice, and I think lots of public figures -- on the left and the right -- could use a good pieing every so often. After he was cleaned up, he did go on to deliver his speech (at Brown University), which focused on market-based and techno "fixes" to the environment.
As it becomes more and more clear that the problems we're facing are rooted in the very foundations of market economics, we can see capitalism's apologists, like Friedman, offering more and more incredulous "solutions" to those problems (something tells me that putting price tags on even MORE things isn't a good solution to the problem created by pricing things in the first place). But one thing is painfully clear: lefties need to learn better aim!
[asset|aid=782|format=image|formatter=asset|title=For Student Power, not Student Debt!|width=250|height=170|align=right|resizable=true]The New York Times had a pair of articles last Sunday chronicling what seems to be an emerging "race to the bottom" among universities, to see who can most cut tuition, either across the board or for families under a certain income level. They also profile several schools that effectively have zero tuition.
I've also included the full text of these articles on For Student Power (in case NYT changes the link or makes your register). Both of these articles are very important for campus radicals to read and chew on; it's a fantastic glimpse into the kind of "peer pressure" that goes on among colleges and universities. Up until recently, the trend was "if you raise your tuition, I'll raise mine," with the added revenue going either to prestige-building exercises (new buildings, facilities, etc.) or financial aid. And of course, there's this:
Donald Heller, director of the Center for the Study of Higher Education at Pennsylvania State, offers one reason: “There’s something we refer to in college pricing as the Chivas Regal effect. If an institution drops its price, it’s seen as a decrease in quality.”
It's sad, but it's something that's true, to a certain extent. And the NYT articles certainly show that in some cases, reducing tuition can have the opposite impact, and actually attract higher-income students, showing that as we look at our own universities, it isn't just the "sticker price" we should be worried about.
Having a good grasp of what your university's peers are doing in terms of tuition can be an effective weapon when fighting for lower tuition and more financial aid, with the goal being tuition abolition. It can also be a key part of any narrative you submit to the press. "All we're demanding X University do is what Y College and Z University have done. They all have similar endowments, so why is X being so greedy?"
Human rights? An end to war? An end to environmental destruction? Members of Students for a Democratic Society at the University of Florida are hunger striking for all three...
[asset|aid=772|format=image|formatter=asset|title=UF SDSers Hunger Strike|width=525|height=212|align=left|resizable=true]
Read more under the fold...
- Québéc Students Defy Ban on Protests
- Fiji Students Fight Repressive University Regulations
- A Tale of Two Sit-ins: University of Toronto Students Harassed While York Students Left Alone
[asset|aid=739|format=image|formatter=asset|title=UQAM students form a chain across traffic around their campus. Photo credit: McGill Daily|width=460|height=200|align=center|resizable=true]
[asset|aid=735|format=image|formatter=asset|title=student-stressed-small.jpg|width=150|height=222|align=right|resizable=true]Why should students get stressed? They're up in that elite ivory tower, removed from the troubles of the world! AP:
College kids are so frazzled they can't sleep or eat. Or study. Good grief, they're even anxious about spring break.
Most students in U.S. colleges are just plain stressed out, from everyday worries about grades and relationships to darker thoughts of suicide, according to a poll of undergraduates from coast to coast. The survey was conducted for The Associated Press and mtvU, a television network available at many colleges and universities.
Four in 10 students say they endure stress often. Nearly one if five say they feel it all or most of the time.
Following the footsteps of many campuses here in the states, earlier this month students at University College London voted to expel military recruiters from their student’s union. This is a great example of students fighting on two fronts: 1) asserting student sovereignty and power, and 2) slowing down the gears of war. UK Indymedia:
We've got two instances of high school students protesting the firing of popular teachers. The first is at St. Mary's School for the Deaf in Buffalo, NY. After the firing of a popular math teacher without any stated reason, students are raising a ruckus. From Buffalo News (emphasis added):
SDS members at the University of Alabama were arrested after performing street theatre about the Iraq War which doubled as advertising for an upcoming speaker from Iraq Veterans Against the War. From the AP:
Campus police detained the four from about 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
before taking them to jail and they were released after
posting bond around midnight, Stainer said.
The demonstration began when the four, dressed as soldiers,
entered the Ferguson Center Friday afternoon and began
yelling and cursing, The Crimson White reported Monday.
Free stores, also known as "really, really, free markets," are nothing new to the activist scene, but as of late numerous SDS chapters have taken up the banner and introduced the tradition to the campus. The idea is simple: everything at the free store is fair game - if you want it, take it. Folks are (of course) also encouraged to drop off things they don't want or need that others might. The goal is to create a space where people can experience and talk about the inequities of the current system, consumerism, and non-market modes of distribution. It's also environmentally-friendly, and a lot of fun.