Chicago, IL – A coalition of students, staff, faculty, unions, and allied activist groups will host Take Back Your School, an chance for all to help make decisions that impact our education and our future, at Columbia College on Friday, March 16, at 2 p.m. on the first floor of the 33 E. Congress building. In solidarity with recent higher education struggles, the coalition seeks to manifest change through four demands: 1) Stop corporatization, aka “Prioritization” of Columbia College; 2) Freeze tuition; 3) End union busting; 4) Force the College into financial transparency.
The College has hid the details of its annual budget, attacked its staff (USCC) and part-time faculty (P-fac) unions, announced a tuition increase of 5.2% for the coming academic year, and instituted a “prioritization process” that has left its community riddled with anxiety.
Despite President Carter’s March 14 email to faculty and staff that “unlike other institutions. . .we chose to make [Prioritization] a fully transparent, engaging, inclusive and communal process,” Columbia has hidden most details of the process in opacity and harmed its community’s morale. “I feel that the Prioritization came about in a very threatening manner,” reads a comment from a recent full-time faculty survey available to the public here.“This has been a very demoralizing process. I tell my friends who are academics at other institutions, and they think I’m insane to keep working here,” reads another. “For all of the transparency of the process,” another states, “the actual machinations through which things seem to be getting done is maddeningly opaque.”
Students have been kept uninformed of this process, exposed to it only via The Columbia Chronicle, internal media that serves as a mouthpiece for the administration, and the President has requested that faculty and staff “refrain from engaging in any speculation on the review process—including with students or media” and to direct all media inquiries to an internal representative.
At Take Back Your School, look for: Absent college administrators, who were invited but refuse to appear; No Confidence resolutions; Buy Ins; Line Items to “create change”; Appalling Quotes from administrators; Questions and Answers from non-experts with real solutions; and a Proposed Budget reallocating a bloated and useless administration to scholarships, wage increases, and program restoration.
Take Back Your School has been endorsed by Occupy Columbia, P-fac, Coalition Against Corporate Higher Education (CACHE), Occupy Chicago, and the students, faculty, and staff whose labor, tuition, commitment, creativity, and passion make Columbia College possible.
Contacts: Alexandra Fitzgerald, Occupy Columbia, firstname.lastname@example.org
Nancy Traver, P-fac Publicity Chair, 847.334.5540
Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/357207937653469/