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Hunter Fights Back

Resist And Multiply is part a coalition at Hunter college that is fighting against budget cuts and the increasing difficulty of obtaining quality public education. The coalition, Hunter Fights Back, participated in a national day of action to defend public education on Octover 7th. This is their statement:

STUDENTS STAGE DIE-IN, STREET THEATER TO PROTEST CUTS AND CALL FOR GREATER ACCESS TO PUBLIC EDUCATION

In the face of ever-increasing budget cuts, tuition hikes, and privatization, Hunter College and High School students protest the administration’s complicity in the attacks on their education

New York, NY– On October 7th, students, professors, adjunct professors, workers, and community members from Hunter College and Hunter College High School joined National Day of Action to Defend Education by staging a die-in in front of Hunter West at 2:15pm to illustrate the very real effects the crippling budget cuts has had and will continue to have on students’, workers’, and the community’s lives.  The targets are not just the state legislators but also the Hunter administration that is anything but democratic and cater to the same private interests that seek to undermine our education.  At 4pm, the protestors will join with a larger rally in Harlem at the State Building at 163rd W. 125th St with students, workers, teachers, professors, adjunct professors, parents, and concerned community members to demand a stop to the budget cuts, among other things.

These actions occurred in conjunction with strikes, rallies, walkouts, and other resistant actions across the country planned for the October 7th National Day of Action to Defend Education.  Across the country, increasing attempts at complete privatization have become blatantly clear.  Students, workers, and our communities have continuously been the ones to pay for an economic crisis created by the wealthy.  Here in New York, budget cuts, tuition hikes, and a tiered system in CUNY all work to undermine the ability of students to learn by removing resources which facilitate learning, destroying the physical spaces in which we learn through neglect.  Meanwhile, workers’ rights are being curtailed by cutting the pay, benefits and job security of our professors and adjunct professors, as well as the school staff who are overworked and underpaid.  Tuition hikes push impoverished students, who are disproportionately people of color, out of CUNY, and further solidify the false notion that education is a privilege.  And at Hunter College, the installation of $2 million turnstiles is the physical manifestation of the neoliberal educational policies that say only certain people should receive an education.  “Public education is under attack at a time when we need it more than ever,” said Hunter College graduate student Michael Synan.  “When so many people are jobless and struggling because of the economic crisis, public education should be getting more funding, not less! Chop from the top and tax the rich!”

The attacks on public education have not ceased but are becoming more severe at this time of prolonged economic crisis in the U.S. and around the world.  This crisis and declining federal, state and local revenues linked to the massive loss in jobs is being used as an excuse to weaken or destroy teachers unions and to dismantle the public education system. Hundreds of billions of dollars have been spent to bail out financial institutions, wage wars and build prisons and jails, yet we are told that there is no money to fund education. In New York, the attacks on education include budget cuts, tuition hikes, layoffs, expanding class sizes, the privatization of public schools through charter schools, attacks on unions, and cuts to student services. Both gubernatorial candidates from both parties are projecting even deeper cut backs for 2011/2012.

Protestors demand democratic, transparent and radical change within the university system; a CUNY that is run and operated by the students, workers and members of the community, as opposed to profit driven administrators, a CUNY that is free and open to all regardless of socioeconomic status, race, gender, sexual orientation, immigration status, or any other marker of difference.  They demand an immediate end to all budget cuts and tuition hikes, contracts for workers and adjuncts, transparency and socially responsible investment, a cancellation of all student debt, and ultimately real democracy within CUNY.

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