The Free Speech Organizing Toolkit is designed to provide campus leaders and free speech supporters with the tools to work with higher education leaders to remove impediments to a marketplace of ideas on their campus.
This valuable toolkit was produced by the Center for Campus Free Speech. The Center acts as a clearinghouse of information, provides specialized support to campuses, and connects concerned educators, administrators, lawyers and students into a national network. The Center draws advice and guidance from a group of leaders in the higher education and legal communities.
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.
October 23-27, 2006: Hundreds participate, take on corporate lobbyists
Every community college, tech school, and university in the USA is experiencing the same things. Major cuts in public funding. Massive tuition increases. Ballooning student debt. Collapsing educational quality and staff support. The word for this situation is crisis. Right now, college administrators, state legislatures, governors, and federal officials are preparing for the next round of cuts in funding, quality, and access.
During this fall's Democratizing Education Week of Action, hundreds of students, faculty, campus workers, and community members did something about this crisis.
A weeklong nationwide protest against attacks on higher education culminated Friday, October 27 in a coordinated Phone-In to corporate lobbyists. Protesters phoned the national and state offices of the Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers and told them to reverse course and start lobbying for more public funding for higher education. Political leaders in Congress and in state office received phone calls as well.
The Phone-In came on the heels of a nationwide web-based Virtual March, in which participants wrote letters expressing similar demands. More than 100 campuses in 36 states participated in the Virtual March. The protesters weren't merely against further cuts in higher education funding. They are promoting an alternative. In 2001, it cost 32 billion US to pay for the full cost of tuition and fees for all students enrolled in 2- and 4-year degree-granting institutions of public higher education. The Democratizing Education Network (DEN) supports, among other things, eliminating tuition at public institutions by fully supporting them with public financing. Funding for quality free higher education is available, DEN activists say, pointing to the 2 billion US poured weekly into the occupation of Iraq, as well as to the declining share of taxes shouldered by corporations and the wealthy.
Oregon Area Progressives is sponsoring All About ALEC, a forum on the American Legislative Exchange Council with an outstanding lineup of speakers, including Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D - IL) Sen. Mark Miller Rep. Mark Pocan Rep. Sondy Pope-Roberts Lisa Graves - Center for Media and Democracy Mike McCabe - Wisconsin Democracy Campaign Jack Norman -Institute for Wisconsin's Future Jim Cavanaugh - South Central Federation of Labor Dan Holub - WEAC Julie Underwood - UW Madison School of Education Joanne Ricca - Wisconsin AFL-CIO Robert Kraig - Citizen's Action of Wisconsin and Jay Heck - Common Cause Moderated by John Nichols Advance Registration $10 - includes lunch register now at www.allaboutalec.org
We are excited to provide the following list of confirmed speakers, session leaders, and artists at the 2011 Democracy Convention. This listing will be expanded and otherwise updated in advance of the convention:
Last fall, California sparked a movement that has grown drastically over the past year. Much energy went toward building March 4th 2010, National Day of Action to Defend Education, which as a resounding success in the struggle to defend public education. Thousands organized and participated in the events of that day which took place in 32 states. Major actions took place throughout California, but also in Milwaukee, New York City, Illinois, and Baltimore with hundreds of actions planned nationwide. University of Puerto Rico students capped off a two-month strike with a victory receiving many concessions from administration.
What is clear is that this fight is not over. The lines are drawn. As working families struggle to recover from the crisis, access to education is diminishing as cuts continue to come. California activists have proposed October 7th as the next Day of Action. Internationally, activists are focusing on October and November as crucial moments in the struggle to fight back against neoliberalism and defend education rights. We, the below signed organizations and individuals, call on students, teachers, faculty, staff, workers, and parents to unite together and Defend Public Education this fall.
In Texas, the Board of Education has drastically changed the content of Texas textbooks, to include praise of Joseph McCarthy, and many other clauses. In Arizona, The state has passed the racist SB1070 that mandates police detain anyone looks like an undocumented worker. Following this, Arizona is also shutting down ethnic studies programs. In New York City, Chicago, and Detroit, districts are facing massive school closings. Public universities throughout the country are raising tuition costs and looking for more private investors. Budget cuts, tuition hikes, school closings, and right-wing reforms are hitting working families the hardest, especially in communities of color.
As these cuts continue to come, we see the costs of neoliberalism hit home harder than they have before. Public education has been losing funding for years, much of which disappeared because of neoliberal changes to the economy. The current budget crisis in many states will result in further drastic cuts to public education, including further cuts to underfunded schools, increases in unpaid days off for staff, a incentive program promoting “reforms” that are outright attacks on teachers, a restructuring of the public university around the needs of private business – largely supported by massive private grants, and tuition hikes that threaten accessibility to higher education for working families and people of color.
As the education disparities between poor and affluent grow ever wider, public schools serving communities of color are swiftly being re-segregated, provided fewer resources, and less-experienced teachers. These students are being tracked into non-academic, dead-end programs while ethnic and multi-cultural classes and opportunities are being cut.
This crisis and this solution are a direct result of neoliberal-era ideology, reducing or dissolving taxes on the rich and corporations while working people struggle to provide for their families out of their ever-shrinking pockets. As private interests gain more power, as the private dollar begins to strengthen its influence in education, our democratic rights are being stripped away.
* Rally and sit-in at the San Francisco State University (U.S. of A.)
* Student led discussion on "The Role of the University" at the University of North Dakota (U.S. of A.)
* Demonstration against tuition fees in Freetown, called for by the National Youth Coalition Student Assembly (Sierra Leone)
* Pupils across France are mobilising for a day of action against reforms, that will promote a "two-class" public education system. Demonstrations expected in at least 26 cities. Close to 3,000 high schools are involved;http://frontdeluttepourleducation.fr
* Flashmobs and open discussions about the importance of free and emancipatory public education in Skopje (Republic of Macedonia); Sloboden Indeks (Free Index) -http://slobodenindeks.blog.com.mk
* Various protests - among which are also demonstrations - are being arranged in Bern, Basel, Zürich and Geneva (Switzerland):http://unsereuni.ch
On Wednesday, February 13th, Governor Walker is having his annual "performance review" in front of his real bosses. No, not the people of Wisconsin. The corporate lobby group Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC), an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
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).