Campus Free Speech proves with its new report, Facts Still Count, that David Horowitz's recent books are not honest in their criticisms of campuses and faculty. The Center for Campus Free Speech is affiliated with the Democratizing Education Network, and a great source of information regarding important academic freedom and campus free speech issues.
As part of the Free Exchange on Campus Coalition, Campus Free Speech has just released a new report: Facts Still Count.
The Center for Campus Free Speech releases there Guide to Student Activity Fees - a primer on the legal issues involved in creating and managing a student activity fee system.
Student fee systems are used by students across the country to provide the resources for a wide variety of out-of-classroom activities.
Students fund everything from service organizations to advocacy to educational forums and guest speakers. They debate and learn about critical issues like multiculturalism, the environment, education policy, conflicts in the Middle East and religion. They learn new skills and create change on major problems the world faces.
Student activity fees give involved students the resources to create a vibrant marketplace of ideas on campus.
This report, by John Schmitt and Ben Zipperer of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, updates an earlier report from January of 2007, which found a steep rise in illegal firings of pro-union workers in the 2000s relative to the last half of the 1990s. It updates the index of the probability that a pro-union worker will be fired in the course of a union election campaign, using published data from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). It also takes into consideration the increase in card-check organizing campaigns that began in the mid-1990s and adjusts the index for this factor.
"Democratizing Our Universities to Confront Climate Change" was a workshop held at PowerShift 2009, in Washington, DC. The speakers are Ben Manski of Liberty Tree and Meaghan Linick-Loughley and Atlee McFellin of New School University.
Location: Barcelona, Spain Presented at the International Seminar on Participatory Democracy "Participatory Democracy. Political Actors and Social Movements" AbstractDiagnosing Democratic Collapse The U.S. political system suffers from a potentially fatal condition, a malady that can be diagnosed as "Democratic Collapse." The causes of this collapse are known: First, the consolidation of corporate control of the establishment political parties. Second, the sacrilegious enshrinement of corporations as persons under law, entitled to constitutional protections against citizens and governments.
Ben Manski is a Fellow with the Liberty Tree Foundation for the Democratic Revolution in its Local Democracy and Democratizing Education program areas. He served as Co-Chair of the Green Party of the United States from 2001 through 2004, and was active in the U.S. student, labor, peace, and environmental movements throughout the 1990s. Ben has a degree in law from the University of Wisconsin, and has written on the corporatization of higher education in the United States.
An organizing guide for students, faculty, staff, and community members interested in promoting democracy in higher education, and a higher education system in service to a democratic, inclusive, society.
Evan Thornton at the Democratizing Education Convention, Madison, Wisconsin
To place the Canadian student movement in context, I want to start with a brief overview of the national affiliations on a typical Canadian campus, which I hope will help give an idea of the significant difference in the nature of the challenge faced by Canadian student organizers compared to their U.S. counterparts.
Faculty and Academic Staff:
Starting with teaching staff, the campus will typically have unionized Faculty Association that are affiliated nationally with the Canadian Association of University Teachers CAUT which represents 48,000 teachers, librarians, researchers and other academic professionals. In its own words CAUT is:
Evan Thornton is an associate of the Liberty Tree Foundation for the Democratic Revolution, and director of University Watch. Thornton has three decades of experience in campus organizing, first as a student union organizer, then with labour, and most recently as director and editor of University Watch.
Uwatch.ca is an independently incorporated, non-profit donor-financed organisation largely run by volunteers committed to the vision that universities ought to be transparent institutions serving in the public interest. It is also intended as an umbrella organisation linking various stakeholders, including interested private citizens, community groups, students, student governments, agencies, think tanks, and so on.
Published in TNI's "Beyond the Market: The Future of Public Services" In January, 2006, Liberty Tree's Ben Manski and Patrick Barrett travelled to the Social Forum of the Americas in Caracas, Venezuela, where they made presentations on the state of the democracy movement in the United States. Ben Manski also participated in the international release of a new yearbook on public services, to which he and John Peck were contributors. Read their survey of corporatization in the United States, together with their analysis of what can be done about it, below.
Hurricane Katrina destroyed as yet uncounted lives, communities, and ecosystems. The hurricane also destroyed popular visions of the US state, sweeping away the last vestiges of federal paternalism, revealing the costs of corporatization in its wake. Years of budget cuts, cronyism, and corporatization rendered the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) incompetent to manage this greatest of national emergencies.
This report was drafted by Mishy Leiblum and Jed Murr, retreat participants from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Photos by Ben Manski. The retreat was a project of the Liberty Tree Foundation for the Democratic Revolution's Democratizing Education Program.
FOR HIGHER EDUCATION
Students + Youth + Faculty
+ Staff + Community =
The Power to Rescue
Higher Ed & Renew Democracy!
Will they do it again? In the coming months, will state governments and campus officials again hike tuition? Will the federal and state governments again shortchange higher education? Will the pace of the corporatization and resegregation of higher education increase?
The youth of America are already paying the price for decades of education cuts imposed by prior generations. Tuition costs have doubled, tripled, and in some cases quintupled from just a generation ago. The shift from student grants to loans has produced the most indebted generation of young people in American history. Highly trained professors, already undermined by attacks on tenure, are teaching less as lower paid teaching assistants and adjunct faculty teach more. Hundreds of thousands of young people who joined the Guard to fund their college education and defend their country have been sent to fight in the unpopular occupation of Iraq. And millions of young people from poor families - predominantly youth of color - have decided that a college education simply is not an option.
As a people, Americans will face grim consequences if higher education becomes a tool of the multinational corporations, rather than a source of democracy and opportunity. They who pay the piper call the tune. After three decades of effective corporate lobbying, public and corporate taxes now pay less than half as much as a proportion of costs at public colleges and universities. In turn, corporations are directing their financial leverage and political influence to restructure public higher education on a corporate model: College vouchers, charter departments, charter campuses, and fully privatized corporate schools. Corporations are also calling the tune in setting the internal curriculum and research priorities for our universities; as campus executives emphasize those departments that can obtain outside corporate funding, fields with more social benefit (i.e. education, social work, sustainable agriculture) are left to wither.
This is a critical moment. Now is the time for youth to demonstrate that the price is already too high. Now is the moment for us all to face the crisis in higher education, and to demand the financial and political changes that will put our schools, colleges, and universities on solid ground.
Join the April Mobilization. Demand full public funding for higher education; a rollback and eventual phaseout of tuition; the democratization of higher education in the USA.
* * * Week of Action - April 16-20 * * *
This will be a week of coordinated action and protest. On campuses and in communities across the USA, students, youth, faculty, staff, and community members will act together to force democratic changes in higher education funding, policy, and governance. Tactics may include sit-ins, rallies, strikes, pickets, marches, banner hangs, study-ins, silent processions, grade-ins, office visits, dorm-storms, lock-downs . . . whatever non-violent tactics that local organizers believe will be most effective in their campuses and communities.
* * * Teach-Ins & Tent States - Month of April * * *
Organizers will build momentum for the April mobilization by holding large-scale educational events in the weeks leading up to and including the Week of Action. These events will take the form of indoor teach-ins, in which campus and community facilities become host to workshops, lectures, and debates on the future of higher education in America, or of Tent State Universities, in which tent cities spring up on campus malls, squares, and quads, showing the displacement of the public mission of higher education in America.
The April Mobilization for Higher Education is a project of the Democratizing Education Network (DEN), a network of student, youth, faculty, staff, and community organizers and groups dedicated a set of common principles:
Democratizing Higher Education Charter
Full Public Funding for Public Higher Education
Free Access to Higher Education and Abolition of Tuition
Affirmative Action to End Institutionalized Racism and Sexism
Full Recognition of the Right of Students and Workers to Organize
Democratic Self-Government of Higher Education
Service to the Public Welfare, Not Corporate Profits
Free Speech and Academic Freedom
Debt Forgiveness of Student Loans
Civic Education for a Democratic Society
Education, Not War; Schools, Not Jails
Since mid-2005, the DEN has united diverse campus and community constituencies around common projects and campaigns. These have included the Democratizing Education Convention (October, 2005), the Tent State University movement (April, 2006), and the Virtual March on Corporate Lobbyists (October, 2006). This summer, the DEN will host a second Democratizing Education Convention in Atlanta, Georgia, to be held in conjunction with the US Social Forum (June 22-24, 2007).
The conveners "invite you to attend a conference which brings together historians, social theorists, contemporary student activists, and Port Huron veterans to discuss the origins, historical impact, and contemporary relevance of the New Left's founding manifesto."
American Association of University Professors, UMKC Chapter
The Missouri House passed HB 213, the "Emily Brooker Intellectual Diversity Act," on April 12.
The bill (now S 848) is now before the State Senate.
Most notable is the bill's explicit protection of "the viewpoint that the Bible is inerrant" (infallibility as interpreted by ultra-conservatives). The Act would legally empower fundamentalist students claiming infallibility to file grievances against non-fundamentalist instructors and have them disciplined for "lack of respect" or "viewpoint discrimination." That is, they can be disciplined for rejecting the infallibility of
ultra-conservative tenets (creationism replaces evolution in the life sciences, gay rights are excluded from law and social work curricula, programs in Black Studies, Women's Studies, and Labor Studies are eliminated, etc.).
Come one, come all, hear the call to . . .
DUMP TEA! DUMP PALIN!
Speakers and Music TBA…as confirmed.
MC's John "Sly" Sylvester and Sarah Manski.
NOON, SATURDAY, APRIL 16th
WI STATE CAPITOL
Change: STATE STREET CORNER
Please share widely. The puppets are coming, the puppets are coming! Corporate puppets Sarah Palin and "Americans" for "Prosperity" are rallying at our Wisconsin State Capitol on 4/16. For more information:http://www.danegop.org/latestnews.aspx
UPDATE: The bill pushed by the Louisiana chemical industry to restrict the activities of Tulane University's law clinic has died in a Senate committee. More here...
The New York Times recently wrote an article on a new legislative attack on academic freedom. In two states, Louisiana and Maryland, legislators have introduced bills to restrict the cases and clients that law clinics at public universities can take on. These bills come hot on the heels of two high profile public interest lawsuits filed by clinics at the University of Maryland and Tulane.
Law clinics provide important hands-on training for law students at public universities across the nation. Challenges to the academic freedom of these law clinics are not new. Research from Professor Robert R. Keuhn at St. Louis University found that more than a third of faculty at law clinics expressed fears about university or state reaction to their casework and a sixth had turned down unpopular clients because of these fears. But the two bills currently being considered are the first time that legislators have directly tried to restrict the opportunities afforded law students through these clinics. Both of these bills have been introduced at the behest of industries that have recently been the targets of lawsuits from public law clinics.
In Maryland the state senate tacked a provision onto a routine budget bill threatening millions of dollars of funding for the University of Maryland if its law clinic did not disclose information about its clients and finances. While our allies in Maryland were able to get the state assembly to remove this amendment, some of these provisions appear to have been reinserted in the final draft bill.
In Louisiana, State Senator Robert Adley has introduced a bill to prevent public law clinics from litigating against government entities, corporations, or individuals unless approved by the state legislature. The bill, being promoted by oil and gas companies, comes on the heels of a suit from the law clinic pushing for better enforcement of the Clean Air Act.
Both of these bills are attempts by powerful interests to restrict what amounts to course content and take control of those decisions out of the hands of faculty members. This legislation shows us that while Horowitz and his Academic Bill of Rights may have fallen out of style with the opponents of the academy, the attack on the free exchange of ideas is not over.
The Private Student Loan Companies Are Telling Congress They Should Come First AGAIN.
Today the New York Times reported a story about the Private Loan Industry & their friends in Congress planning a large scale effort to block President Obama's plan to support students & working families going to college.
Over a month ago President Obama addressed the nation and proposed some of the firmest commitments to education that we've seen in generations. His bold plan promised all of us that the government would permanently fund the Pell Grant program so that anyone who wanted to go to college and needed help paying for it would be able to get the support they needed without taking out bad loans that would put them into decades of debt.
Today the private loan companies came out of the shadows to tell Congress that they must choose between investing in the America's future or funding the private loan companies that helped get us into this economic crisis in the first place. Sallie Mae is hiring powerful lobbyists to secure funding in the federal budget in attempt to block President Obama's plan to make the Pell Grant dependable for students and working families. This past year, Sallie Mae awarded its chief executive $4.6 million in cash and stock and its vice chairman more than $13.2 million in cash and stock, including the use of a company plane while students are drowning in debt.
Our country shouldn't be forced to choose between the Pell Grant and funding the private loan companies - we all deserve a fair chance and an equal opportunity to recover from the economic crisis we are in. Join us in telling members of Congress that WE NEED TO INVEST IN EDUCATION in order to rebuild America's economy and our future.
A coalition of local labor and community groups has formed a CTU Solidarity Commitee to support the striking Chicago teachers. Buses/caravans are being organized from the Memorial Union/ Labor Temple in Madison to send folks down to a mass "Wisconsin Style" rally CTU is holding on Saturday.
This March will mark a grim milestone - the fifth anniversary of the illegal and immoral invasion of Iraq. Despite the clear mandate from the American people to end the occupation, the U.S. government continues to wage war upon the Iraqi people. Bush’s mocking response to dwindling public support for the war has been the “troop surge,” or simply more of the same, while simultaneously threatening neighboring countries like Iran. For their part, the Democrats refuse to commit to a clear anti-war stance, even as they try to posture as the opposition party. Meanwhile, the threat of domestic recession looms, racist attacks increase, and millions lack decent housing, jobs, education, and health-care.
The war will drag on for many more years–draining billions of dollars and resulting in thousands of more causalities, both American and Iraqi, on top of the hundreds of thousands already killed, injured, and displaced–unless the people stand up and fight for change.
Every year, there have been protests marking the anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq that was launched on the basis of lies and deceit. Students have historically had an especially important role in the struggles against racism and war, and we continue to do so today. Last March, over 80 high schools and colleges answered the call by chapters of Students for a Democratic Society to come together to send one loud resounding NO to the Bush administration and the Republican agenda, to the Democrats who refuse to carry out the mandate of their constituents, and to the University administrations that so often support war efforts.
This March, SDS is urging all students, as part of the broader community of people of conscience, to voice our opposition to the war in Iraq. As the presidential election nears, candidates need to be sent a clear message: we will not stand for vague time lines and empty promises, we will not tolerate sanctions, threats, and aggression against Iran, and that we will stand in solidarity with the Iraqi people who are struggling to liberate their country.
We want as many people as possible to join us in this protest; the larger the protest the stronger the impact we have, and the sooner we can help end this war. We are calling on any and all student and youth based organizations that are opposed to the war in Iraq to mobilize their memberships, their campus, their community and hit the streets for the week of March 17-21, with March 20 as the focal point.* We are calling on students to take action on their own campuses, where we have the power to reach the entire student body with our message and build resistance on our own campuses. We are calling on our fellow students and youth to take the lead and do whatever it takes–from rallies, marches, walk-outs, civil disobedience, and direct action–to send a clear message to the U.S. government: Get out of Iraq Now!