SUNY PURCHASE OCCUPIED

March 4, 2010

SUNY PURCHASE IS OCCUPIED!

Solidarity to all students, workers and faculty!

We ‘ve taken over the Student Services Building. We started on the bottom level, turning a meager rally into a protest-party on the inside.Students are chanting, singing, dancing. The energy moved upstairs to the second floor where a folk group is performing right now.  Downstairs another band is about to play.  We are holding space and reclaiming it as ours.   We will not leave, but you can come in and join us!

The local media showed up for the rally outside but left before we went inward.  Channel 12 and other local media sources watched as the president of our school spoke. Students were the real stars, the expression of solidarity was fantastic. Food not bombs came out to feed everyone that was hungry, we screened the occupation of wheeler hall so passerbys could connect with the struggles in the west. Students  are making noise!!!!, and celebrated our ability to come together. It’s more than just tuition hikes and budget cuts,

 WE are not leaving! This IS just the beginning!

We’ve taken Student Services!

March 4, 2010

SUNY PURCHASE IS OCCUPIED!

Solidarity to all students, workers and faculty!

We ‘ve taken over the Student Services Building. We started on the bottom level, turning a meager rally into a protest-party on the inside.Students are chanting, singing, dancing. The energy moved upstairs to the second floor where a folk group is performing right now.  Downstairs another band is about to play.  We are holding space and reclaiming it as ours.   We will not leave, but you can come in and join us!

The local media showed up for the rally outside but left before we went inward.  Channel 12 and other local media sources watched as the president of our school spoke. Students were the real stars, the expression of solidarity was fantastic. Food not bombs came out to feed everyone that was hungry, we screened the occupation of wheeler hall so passerbys could connect with the struggles in the west. Students  are making noise!!!!, and celebrated our ability to come together. It’s more than just tuition hikes and budget cuts,

 WE are not leaving! This IS just the beginning!

Why Should You Walkout Tomorrow?

March 4, 2010

A lot of people have been asking us what a student strike will accomplish. A friend in the movement sent the following open-letter to the campus community our way:

Tomorrow isn’t just about speaking out against budget cuts or tuition hikes. All you dissenters think we don’t know President Schwarz doesn’t control the Executive Budget or whether or not Albany passes the Empowerment Act? Of course we do. But tomorrow is also about coming out against the things Purchase administrators can control- where the cuts, if inevitable as suggested by some, are made, and demanding more student representation on the committees that make most of the decisions about the future of our college. This isn’t some fringe idea put out by a bunch of hippie communists(or whatever you’re calling us.) Look at the structure of other state/city schools. CUNY Hunter works off a 1/3 faculty, 1/3 administration, 1/3 students model, and as Purchase prepares for Middle States reaccreditation, this is a shift in structure we’d like to see happen.

Let’s talk more about the Empowerment Act, because that’s something no one has really discussed on these forums. The Empowerment Act is a piece of legislation that would centralize power to each specific SUNY. If passed, a few key things would happen:

-Private-public partnerships: That proposed retirement community that caused so much of a fracas a few years ago among the student body and that was ultimately vetoed by the Governor? If the Empowerment Act passes, the retirement community will be built, with the potential for so much more. Individual universities would have no oversight over what they do and how they lease state-owned land. It’s a misappropriation of funds to use SUNY Purchase resources to build things on campus that won’t be accessible to us and will not benefit the student body. Remember that media services office that was supposed to materialize on the first floor of the Fort? President Schwarz proudly told us Monday he plans to turn that all into retail space. Private-public partnerships are a shift toward privatization and a pathway to the complete corporatization of our education, which is not something I’m comfortable with. Neither is the United University Professions Union.

-Decentralized tuition: Yes, yes. Tell me all you like tuition hikes are inevitable, the state has no money, and we’re a bunch of entitled brats for suggesting there’s something inherently wrong in making public education more expensive, even as legislators are trying to cut TAP by $75 dollars per student and price out countless New Yorkers and out of state students. But how any potential tuition hikes are implemented is key element in making education affordable. I’m quoting here, but under the current legislative model, tuition has increased by 14 percent. The Empowerment and Innovation Act (which is anything but) “would allow SUNY schools to set their tuition at a price 2.5 times the five-year rolling average of the Higher Education Price Index, which currently sits at 3.9 percent” and allow for tuition hikes of 9.73 percent each year.

In other words, tuition would rise by unprecedented amounts each year, and SUNY students would have no idea how much they’ll be expected to fork over for tuition each fall. Remember the days when SUNY kids were locked in at the tuition rate that was set when they enrolled as freshmen? RIP. How do you plan to pay for college when you don’t know how much it will be? Even more significantly, how do you pay for college when tuition will rise by this much, annually, and federal and state aid can’t keep up?

The other key point about tuition under the Empowerment Act is that it would allow for differential tuition- tuition that’s dependent on your board of study. Art and Design and Science students pay lab fees. What will differential tuition accomplish except enforce a hierarchy on education that will force students to pick majors on economic, instead of educational, merit? What will become of underutilized or developing majors? How can you dole out financial aid when there’s a different price point for each program? Allowing individual SUNY’s to set their own tuition would also benefit research-oriented universities and hurt smaller colleges, like Purchase. This is bad for students, bad for faculty, and bad for SUNY. When we say “no budget cuts, no tuition hikes,” it’s not an abstract call to pay for tuition with rainbows and unicorns. It’s a cry against an unjust and unregulated system that would derail SUNY and have campuses compete against one another.

Why should you walkout tomorrow? Because there’s not going to be any class to walkout on if this keeps up. Because we need to show our strength as a student body, our solidarity with universities across the country embattled in the same fight and because frankly, it’s a very visible and media-friendly way of getting our message out there. We’ve been in talks with faculty and administrators at Purchase and we’ve received overwhelming support, but over and over, they lament the same thing- that none of you care or are willing to fight for what you believe in. Maybe that’s not a fair assessment, but President Schwarz himself said that if it were him, “I’d be sleeping on the steps of the capitol building.” Read between the lines of the Lee Schlesinger e-mail- he only thinks this will be effective if the demonstration is large enough. Make it large enough by coming out tomorrow!

Time and time again, as we’ve organized to make Purchase March 4th happen, our biggest obstacle is that everyone is convinced you won’t show up, that you won’t take a stand, and that you just don’t give a shit. We keep demanding more representation and all administrators can tell us is that the reason they don’t bother is because they know no one will step up to the plate. Well, Purchase College may have lost faith in you, but I haven’t. The Purchase Coalition hasn’t. I’m not going to make anyone walkout tomorrow- ultimately, that decision lies with you. You don’t have to walkout tomorrow to be a part of the March 4th Day of Action. But we’re going to have events all day- the media is coming, President Schwarz is speaking, bands will be playing- come check it out and see what we have to say, and speak yourself. Support your fellow students. Support your SUNY. Because without us, this school is nothing but a bunch of bricks.

ANONYMOUS COMMUNIQUE

March 2, 2010

This was just sent to us…

3/2/10

SUNY Purchase

March 4th is coming and a “University Strike” is in the air. Around 3:30 this morning we climbed the roof of the library and dropped a banner. Budget cuts, increased tuition, layoffs, and the privatization/corporatization of our schools are happening all across the country. Public education is being attacked on all levels from k-12 to higher education and we will not be quiet. At 1pm this Thursday (March 4th) walk out of your class and congregate outside the library for the national day of action to defend public education. Bring pots and pans, noise-makers and your friends.

This is bigger than our school and bigger than students, our entire system is fucked. Thursday is just the beginning of what will hopefully spread through all sectors of society. The priorities of the government are clear; banks and business are more important than people and the earth is a resource to be exploited.

We must fight!

Thursday is just the beginning!

 We stand in solidarity with students, faculty and workers everywhere!

 

Anonymous friend

March 4 Walkout!

March 1, 2010

Faculty, Students and Staff United!

SUNY Purchase March 4 Strike and Day of Action for Public Education.

1 p.m. Walk Out!

Congregate in front of the library.

No cuts!

No fee hikes!

No privatization!

We demand transparency!


SUNY Purchase Call to Action

February 24, 2010

Students, Faculty and Staff,

We are in a dire state.

We are currently in the throes of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. New York’s unemployment rate is at its highest level in almost seventeen years and is showing no sign of improvement. Yet in the midst of this, we’ve managed to neglect the greatest possible hope our country and our community has to offer: our institutions of public higher education.

Nationwide, tuition continues to skyrocket as federal aid stagnates under ever increasing financial pressure from public universities. Students are being priced out of higher education and privatization threatens the very existence of public education as know it. College has become out of reach for all but the most economically elite and tuition differentiation threatens to exacerbate the divide between the poor and the privileged.

We bailed out the banks. We bailed out the motor industry. Where is higher education’s reprieve? Now is not the time to abandon higher education. Now, more than ever, we need Albany to invest in SUNY and invest in our futures.

What began as an action in California to take a stand against tuition hikes of almost 32 percent has become a nationwide movement to defend public education against the risk of rising tuition, increased class size and delayed graduation time. Our colleagues at campuses across the country have put out a national appeal to protect higher education from the instabilities of unregulated tuition increases, and we, as concerned students of SUNY Purchase, have heeded the call.

This March 4, we must show Governor Paterson and President Schwarz that we will not acquiesce to the whims of shortsighted budget cuts and a privatization that goes against the character of our school and the integrity of the educational system. This March 4, we must join forces with students from across the country to protect and defend higher education.

SUNY and CUNY were founded with the mission to provide high-quality, affordable education to all those who seek it. The systematic degradation of our public universities is detrimental not only to those of us in college, but to anyone who feels that education is the key to our future and the pathway to success.

Education is a right, not a privilege. We refuse to sit by idly as budgets are slashed, classes are cut and our scholarship is commodified to fill holes in Governor Patterson’s deficit.

In this spirit, we beseech upon Governor Paterson and President Schwarz the following demands:

1) NO BUDGET CUTS:

Budget cuts threaten public education by weakening student services, inflating class size, and restricting course selection. How much longer will it take us to graduate when fewer classes are offered less frequently? SUNY enrollment is at an all time high, and we will not pay more for fewer resources. We will not abide by the elimination of majors in the name of strategic planning or by the replacement of tenure-track faculty positions with adjunct labor. We believe budget cuts will hurt our school and degrade the quality of our education. We are against all downsizes to the SUNY system.

2) NO TUITION HIKES:

Education is becoming increasingly out of reach for students enrolled in public universities. Too often, students are forced to take out loans from predatory lenders to help finance their educations. Students from all socioeconomic backgrounds are affected by these budget cuts and tuition increases, but as always, working class students will be hit the hardest. Governor Paterson has proposed a differential tuition system that would allow individual SUNY’s to charge tuition based on a student’s chosen board of study. Differential tuition will adversely impact lower income students and will force students to select majors on the basis of economic grounds instead of educational merit. This will create an academic hierarchy that will damage the diversity of boards of study and hinder the development of majors such as Global Black Studies.

3) NO PRIVATIZATION:

The Public Education Empowerment and Innovation Act proposed by Governor Paterson promotes public-private partnerships that threaten the very fabric of public universities. The Empowerment Act will disenfranchise SUNY and alter the foundation of the public university system. President Schwarz has announced his support of the Empowerment Act. We, as concerned students, do not support this measure. Public-private partnerships will be used to generate additional revenue by bringing in private businesses to fund our education instead of the state. This takes the responsibility off New York and puts private interests in its place. The Empowerment Act would also allow SUNY campuses to lease land to private companies for profit. More forestry will be cut, destroying local ecosystems and devastating the acreage that spans across 64 campuses throughout New York. On educational principle and environmental tenet, we oppose the Public Education Empowerment and Innovation Act.

4) NO CORPORATIZATION:

As corporations move in, their interests follow, changing the interests of our college. Corporations have already targeted K-12 students with advertisements and vending machines in schools, turning primary schools into little more than billboards. The increased presence of corporations on campus will threaten Purchase’s autonomy and individuality. The recent Supreme Court decision ruling no limit on corporate spending in federal elections gives corporations the same rights as individuals. This shift in values is a parallel to the corporatization of public education. We will not allow corporations to “Purchase” College.

5) STUDENT REPRESENTATION OUTSIDE THE PSGA:

We demand student representation in all three bodies outside of the PSGA, as they are instrumental in making proposals that directly affect our student body and the quality of our education. The Purchase College Association, Budget Planning Committee and President’s Cabinet make a majority of the decisions that directly impact the future of Purchase College. We insist on proportional representation and voting power on each committee to ensure the best interests of the student body are reflected.  Our autonomous student representatives will make up at least 50 percent of each committee and will have veto power in President’s Schwarz’s plans for generating outside revenue.

The Public Education Empowerment and Innovation Act is detrimental to Purchase College and is detrimental to public education. Join us March 4 and help defend higher education nationwide!

PurchaseMarch4@gmail.com

http://www.purchasemarch4.wordpress.com

For more information:


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