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Campus-oriented news, first-person reports from student activists and journalists about their campus.

Syracuse Rallies Against Campus Violence

Students at Syracuse University rallied against police brutality on November 30 in light of the recent violence used against student activists at UC Berkeley, UC Davis, CUNY schools, and Indiana University. 

"This is a call out to all Syracuse University students, faculty and staff to come out and stand against this treatment of students," read the event's mission statement on Facebook "and to bring attention to the growing problem of police brutality on campuses and communities (including Syracuse) across the country.” In response, about 100 demonstrators filled the steps of Hendricks Chapel in the center of the campus’ quad at 12:30 in the afternoon.

Melissa Welshans, a PhD candidate in the English department at Syracuse, was one of the rally’s key organizers. She described her experience watching the Youtube video of the pepper-spraying incident at UC Davis, posted by a former SU student who now attends the California state university, as the reason behind her interest in acting.

“I know someone there who’s working really hard to get a good education and I don’t want any students to have to deal with that kind of violence,” Welshans explained in a phone interview. “As an instructor I can’t imagine watching police do that to my students. It’s my natural instinct to think about how to keep my students safe in and outside of the classroom.”

Adrienne Garcia is another graduate student at Syracuse who helped organize Wednesday’s rally. In addition to coordinating logistics of the protest, Garcia also penned a powerful letter to the editor that was published in Wednesday’s Daily Orange about an article that originally ran in the independent student paper about SU’s close relationship with JPMorgan Chase.

Risa C'DeBaca, a senior Women’s and Gender Studies major, was the third main organizer of the event. C’DeBaca is  very active with Occupy Syracuse which has maintained a presence in Perseverance Park on South Salina Street since September 30.

Organizers are hoping that Wednesday’s rally is only a starting point for SU students to continue their activism and open up an important dialogue about issues of police brutality and civil rights. There are plans to hold more formal teach-ins in the spring semester.

“This issue will not go away, and it will not be fixed with the rally,” Garcia said. “But we can definitely start a dialogue.”

Nation Interns Choose the Week's Most Important Stories (12/1)

Our media coverage is often dominated by one big story that crowds out most everything else. As an antidote, every week, Nation interns try to cut through the echo chamber and choose one good article in their area of interest that they feel should receive more attention. Please check out their favorite stories below, watch for this feature each week, and please use the comments section below to alert us to any important articles you feel warrant broader attention.

— Angela Aiuto:

Angela focuses on money in politics.

How Paulson Gave Hedge Funds Advance Word,” by Richard Teitelbaum. Bloomberg, Nov. 29, 2011.

A Bloomberg investigation reveals that former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson had tipped a roomful of Wall Street executives to the conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac during a July 2008 meeting, seven weeks in advance of the takeover. Short interest in Fannie peaked that month, with short interest in Freddie following a similar path. The worst part? Paulson’s actions were entirely legal.

—Cal Colgan:

Cal follows the drug war and human rights in Latin America.

Mexico activists seek ICC investigation of drugs war.” BBC, Nov. 25, 2011.

A Mexican human rights lawyer has filed a complaint with the International Criminal Court in The Hague, asking the international law body to to investigate the deaths of the hundreds of civilians slain at the hands of both cartels and security forces, in addition to cases of torture and rape. If the ICC rules that war crimes and crimes against humanity have indeed been committed by security forces as well as the cartels, the ruling could put a damper on President Felipe Calderon's strongman approach to fighting the drug war in Mexico. The Calderon administration has been outspoken in its denial that its policies have resulted in international crimes, but a Human Rights Watch report released in early November reveals that Mexican security forces were involved in several extralegal killings and disappearances in five states. If the ICC agrees to investigate these claims, it will be the first official investigation the body has done outside of an African country.

— Teresa Cotsirilos:

Teresa focuses on "Global South" politics, or sociopolitical developments in areas of the developing world.

The Stories You Missed in 2011,” by Joshua Keating. Foreign Policy, Dec. 2011.

India's military build up. Thailand and Cambodia's shooting war. Rwanda's potential backslide into despotism. Welcome to some of the least reported events in 2011—most of which took place in non-Western countries, and all of which could have a game changing geopolitical effect in the future.

— Paolo Cravero:

Paolo follows war, peace, and security.

After NATO attack, truckers face hard times,” by Mujib Mashal. Al Jazeera, Nov. 30, 2011.

The Pakistani ban on trucks carrying NATO supplies is a comeback to the recent NATO raid on Pakistan territory. Islamabad's authorities described the act as a deliberate act of aggression despite the Atlantic Alliance having ordered the "most formal level of investigation" into the raid. It seems that Pakistan has opted for a quite muscular—but economic detrimental—position towards NATO.

— Erika Eichelberger:

Erika follows the environmental beat.

New Study Links Climate Change to Higher Medical Costs,” by Frances Beinecke. Think Progress, Nov. 25, 2011.

A recent blog post at Think Progress concerns a first-of-its-kind study published in Health Affairs revealing the healthcare costs due to climate change in the US over the past decade. The study found that illness and injury due to extreme weather and smog accounted for over $14 billion in healthcare costs and more than 760,000 interactions with the healthcare system. This points to another way in which economic disparity will manifest itself in the future. Disadvantaged communities without the resources to cope with changing weather and associated healthcare costs will find themselves increasingly polarized from the rest of society.

— Josh Eidelson:

Josh covers the labor beat.

Rolling Sympathy Strikes Harass Food-Service Giant,” by Jane Slaughter. Labor Notes, Nov. 25, 2011.

Earlier this month thousands of Teamsters in nine states took part in brief rolling strikes against the second largest food service company in the country, US Foods.  Despite being under contract, and under the United States' strike-averse legal regime, workers were able to pull it off because of a hard-fought contract clause protecting their right not to cross picket lines.  After a bargaining unit of two janitors went on strike over alleged unfair labor practices by US Foods, one of them traveled from city to city, setting up quick pickets that gave local Teamsters a justification not to work.

— Eli Epstein-Deutsch:

Eli looks at the intersection of politics, ideas and economics from a macro perspective.

America Beyond Capitalism,” by Gar Alperovitz. Dollars & Sense, Nov/Dec 2011.

In the wake of the tremendous failure of modern market capitalism to provide for the social and economic needs of great numbers of its constituents, it was inevitable that alternative forms of commerce would come to thrive. Post-industrial decay in the rustbelt is among the most quintessentially American examples of this failure, so it is natural that the heartland would be where some of the most (quietly) radical and thoroughly American experiments in different modes of organization would arise. This article from Dollars and Sense details a variety of cooperative initiatives in Ohio and beyond, ranging from worker-owned firms, community land trusts, to public asset reclamation for popular benefit. The writer who has a forthcoming book on the subject, both dispels the notion that grassroots communitarianism is merely a creature of wide-eyed sixties radicalism, while also calling for greater politicization of these often unsung institutions-in-formation.

— Collier Meyerson:

Collier’s beat is discrimination.

Inmates, Vermont prisons in conflict over Muslim prayer services,” by Terri Hallenbeck. Burlington Free Press, Nov. 28, 2011.

The rights of Muslim inmates at the Northern State Correctional Facility in Newport, Vermont are being unmercifully infringed upon. Among the numerous offenses, Muslim prisoners were being denied the right to gather for Friday night Jum’ah services under unsupported suspicions that they were planning to use the time as an opportunity to organize a gang.  During the religion’s holiest month of Ramadan where adherents fast during the day, one staffer wrote in an e-mail: “Why do we continue to struggle with the Ramadan mess every August 1st?” It comes as no surprise that the Muslim prisoners complained of cold food and unfair treatment from officers throughout that month. The Vermont Department Of Corrections claims to have resolved the issues but Muslim prisoners say the discrimination persists.

— Allie Tempus: 

Allie follows human rights.

In Haiti, U.S. deportees face illegal detentions and grave health risks,” by Jacob Kushner. WisconsinWatch.org, Nov. 27, 2011.

This extensive investigation reveals the horrible conditions and illegal practices surrounding US deportation of Haitians. Produced as a collaborative project of several independent news organizations, this piece is a powerful example of the evolving structure of investigative journalism. And as we round the second anniversary of the devastating Haiti earthquake that prompted an outpouring of US charitable efforts, it serves as a reminder that humanitarianism begins at the policy level.

— Jin Zhao:

Jin follows the US’s image in international media.

‘Climategate’ Redux: Conservative Media Distort Hacked Emails ... Again.” Media Matters, Nov. 30, 2011.

Despite overwhelming evidence showing that climate change is happening at an alarming rate, conservatives continue to deny it, and one of such efforts recently was the "leak" of purportedly incriminating material taken from email exchanges among members of a climate research group at the University of East Anglia in 2009. However, anonymous hackers recently released a batch of emails showing that the email excerpts conservative media used to claim that climate change was a "hoax" and "conspiracy" cooked up by scientists were truncated and taken out of their contexts.

Campus Violence Continues at Indiana University

Five students were arrested late Tuesday night in the Kelly School of Business at Indiana University; three of them were pushed around by an unnecessarily aggressive police officer. Twenty economics students in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street sat cross-legged with locked arms in front of the doors of a JP Morgan Chase recruiting event inside their campus’s business school.

The event originally started with a large group of students sitting down in front of the doorway while simultaneously allowing passers-by to enter and exit the room. When police became increasingly aggressive, some students stood up and moved back from the area. There was an initial warning from an Indiana University police officer—those who were not willing to get arrested rose from their spots blocking the door and the five remaining activists were removed and arrested.

Two youtube videos taken by nearby observers show the details of the non-violent protest transpiring. One video lasts for 10 minutes and clearly shows the events that unfolded after students were arrested. At about the five minute mark a collective of students bring attention to the fact that officers succeeded in accomplishing their own initial goal and yell, “Thank you for blocking the door for us.”

In a shorter, forty-second video a detective from Indiana University’s police department wearing a gray suit is shown aggressively pushing and shoving two male students and one female student down a hallway in an attempt to prevent them from reaching the front doors of the recruiting event.

Campus violence has been a hot-button issue since the recent assaults against students peacefully demonstrating at UC Berkeley, UC Davis, and CUNY Baruch. Albeit with far less brutality and violence, Indiana University has now joined the ranks of these colleges after a campus detective assaulted three students; they had not done anything illegal yet they were still subject to unnecessary brutality.

The activists’ intention behind this act of civil disobedience was to send a message to JP Morgan that they are not welcome on IU’s campus. In an exclusive email to one of Occupy College’s organizers, protestors claimed they were not trying to prevent their peers from attending the recruiting event but were its sale of toxic mortgage-backed securities and other fraudulent banking practices. 

“We are oppressed by a system that is corrupt both in that individuals and corporations with power abuse their power and actively maintain their strength at the expense of others,” said Peter Oren, one of the students arrested on Wednesday night. “JP Morgan Chase has played a significant--though not solitary--role in this globally perverted economic structure, and thus action against this company is action against oppression."

“JPMorgan Chase was among the major financial institutions that caused the 2008 financial collapse with its criminally greedy, fraudulent lending practices,” said Nick Greven, another Indiana University student arrested in Wednesday night’s protest.  “It has not ceased in their fraudulent practices and has contributed enormously to the corruption of our democracy, has caused misery on a massive, debilitating scale within this country, and has a list of other crimes to its name that is too lengthy to enumerate.”

In a written statement Greven went on to explain, “JP Morgan Chase is a perfect example of the perversion of democracy and capitalism that is the state-corporate complex, and I do not believe that an entity this immoral should be allowed access to impressionable students."

Arrested students will appear in court today at 1:30 in the afternoon.

The above information was provided to one of the main organizers at Occupy Colleges immediately after the protests,  and arrests occurred at Indiana University. Get in touch with Occupy Colleges about your own campus’s protests—provide updates, tips, or seek assistance and help if necessary. Send emails to info@OccupyColleges.Org, call (323) 642-8102, and follow @OccupyColleges on Twitter.

VIDEO: Fighting Back Against Student Debt

Monday was a day of action for university students on both coasts angered by the rising cost of tuition and the crackdowns on their recent protests. In California, students temporarily shut down a meeting of the University of California Board of Regents to protest a series of tuition hikes and the violent response to protests at UC-Berkeley and UC-Davis. Wary of a massive demonstration, the regents met by conference call from four different campuses but were still forced to switch venues after being confronted by chanting students at three of the four sites. In New York City, about a thousand students marched outside a meeting where City University of New York trustees voted to authorize annual tuition increases through 2015. The protests were the latest in a long-running battle against tuition hikes and education cuts that originated on UC campuses two years ago and quickly spread across the country. This morning, the invaluable new sprogram Democracy Now! spoke with two guests who helped launch the "Occupy Student Debt Campaign" Pledge of Refusal, which asks student signatories to refuse their student loan debt until a number of education reforms are implemented, including free public education. Pamela Brown is a Ph.D student in Sociology at The New School, and Andrew Ross is a professor of social and cultural analysis at New York University.

Protest at Baruch Ends Peacefully But Tuition Hikes Are Passed

This report was originally published by the NYU Local in longer form. Follow the paper on Twitter at @NYULocal to keep up with its outstanding coverage of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Hundreds of protesters descended upon Baruch College yesterday afternoon to intervene a CUNY Board of Trustees meeting, which was expected to decide on yet another tuition rise. With the main Baruch building on 55 Lexington Ave. sealed off by a hefty presence of NYPD, the surreptitious meeting went ahead uninterrupted, passing a series of $300 annual tuition hikes over a course of five years. The rally, however, managed to avoid the kind of run-ins with the police that saw 25 arrests at the previous demonstration last Monday—yesterday just 3 arrests were made.

The 15-to-1 vote means that by the 2015-16 school year, CUNY undergraduates would have to pay $6,330 per year for tuition, in comparison to last year’s $4,830, an increase of 31 percent by the end of the five-year period.

Demands at the rally were not limited to lowering tuition–many clamored for the immediate resignation of CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein and the abolishment of the current CUNY Board of Trustees. Unions such as UAW (United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America), PSC-CUNY (Professional Staff Congress CUNY), TWU (Transportation Workers Union), and Internationalists also showed a strong turn-out Monday, making up at least a third of a rally that was spearheaded by CUNY students in conjunction with a large number of CUNY faculty members. 

In anticipation of the protest, all classes after 3:00PM were cancelled, with routine access to the building denied by a legion of NYPD. The police were lined up behind metal railings that claustrophobically hemmed in protesters like sardines on pedestrian sidewalks on the block by the building’s entrance, along 25th St. between Lexington and 3rd Avenue.

The rally was relentlessly restive; the claustrophobia and general outrage at last week’s mass arrests at CUNY seemed to circulate an apprehensive air of spite towards the police and the Board. More excitable protesters howled “Fuck the p’O’lice,” and others scathingly hissed at individual officers. However, the festive temper to which student rallies are naturally inclined (this time courtesy of an omnipresent marching band in green) sufficed to make sure things did not go overboard.

Prior to the march to Baruch, several hundreds gathered in Madison Square Park, where placards, signs, and political flyers were being distributed. Individuals spoke through the archetypal OWS human mic system to get the crowd’s adrenaline flowing. David Julian Guerrero, a graduate student at Hunter, held up a document of statement from student lender Sallie Mae before proceeding to set it alight. Surrounding protesters collectively chanted “CUNY must be free.”

CUNY graduates and various CUNY faculty members dominated a scene that was contrastingly more senior in age than the student rally at Union Square two weeks ago. Denise Romero, a 19-year-old Politics major at CUNY said that it was easier for graduate students to turn up because “Undergraduate students are mostly from low income communities… ethnic minorities… they often have two to three jobs just to pay off tuition… [S]o they cannot attend these rallies because they’re at work.”

On the way to Baruch College from Madison Square Park, voluntary ‘marshals’ with colored armbands patrolled and shepherded the crowd, constantly trying to keep the march from spilling out from the sidewalk. These marshals were also using walkie talkies to coordinate their movement from front to back of the serpentine march in order to prevent splintering. The procession that cried mantras like “Money for jobs and education/Not for police and corporation” drew plenty of attention from onlookers, who poked their heads out from windows; by-passers looked bewildered, amused, apathetic, intimidated, or substantially pissed; and all were taking snapshots on their phones. At times, the scene looked less a political rally than a feeding ground, a frenzy of journalists and cameramen looking for a story.

Around 4:00 p.m. the rally arrived at Baruch to find that the union masses had already occupied the street in front of Baruch College. After a bout of collective chanting, acknowledging mutual allegiance, half the rally was compelled to break off and march again around a two-block radius of the building. Protestors then began spilling out onto the roadside, at which point a squadron of officers on adorable mopeds popped up to force them back onto the sidewalk. The spillover continued into Third Ave., and the police mopeds charged more aggressively there, physically pushing protesters with the bodies of the vehicles. Amid such mayhem there was a brief moment of brawl, between the aforementioned David Julian Guerrero, and a mounted officer, which reportedly resulted in his arrest.

Students from other universities like the New School, Columbia and NYU also showed up in small numbers to show their solidarity. Members of NYU4OWS were present. They held signs reading, “One Struggle, One Fight, NYU Stands With CUNY.”

Max Liboiron, a fifth-year-doctoral student at NYU in Media, Culture, and Communication, said he saw CUNY as “an icon for the state of education in general,” citing it as one of the few universities with affordable tuition. She dreaded that impending changes at CUNY would make education no longer accessible to “students across the board, drowning in debt, who just to go to school so that you could enter a job market, where you’re not likely to get a good job and be able to pay off your debts.”

Of NYU, she said she objected to “all resources” being funneled into the international aspect of the university, while there was “zero cultural competency to back that up. I find that very unethical…5-years-ago it wasn’t like this.”

Individuals where were key in organizing the student aspect of the nationwide “Day of Action” were again at the forefront of the protest yesterday.

NYU Local also spotted some of the participants of the New School Occupation that ended last Friday. One of them, a graduate student in Sociology at New School who wished to remain anonymous said “This is a moment when students can unite regardless of what school you go to. This [the current state of affairs] affects everyone. It ties in neatly with the discussion of public education.” She has also been actively participating in the city-wide General Assemblies, which deals specifically with “common issues that affect all students: tuition increases, student debt, and value of public education in general.”

By about 6:45PM, many of protesters at the rally gradually began making their way home, after a day of what was, to a greater extent, a peaceful demonstration.

November 28: A Tale of Two Universities

This post was originally published at the invaluable Studentactivism.net. Follow the blog on Twitter to keep up on the latest student protests.

Last week a massive General Assembly on the UC Davis campus called a student strike for November 28 on campuses across California. The strike was intended to call attention to police violence in UC, and to highlight student demonstrations against the meeting of the University of California Board of Regents.

The UC Regents were supposed to meet earlier this month at the system’s out-of-the-way Mission Bay campus, but that meeting was cancelled in the face of planned student demonstrations. Today’s rescheduled meeting will take place by teleconference, with regents scattered across the state. UC Davis is one of the meeting’s four physical locations, but as of the weekend only the board’s two student members (one of them non-voting) planned to be present at what has become the new center of resistance to the university’s capricious regulations and reprehensible institutional violence.

In explaining why more regents did not plan to be present at Davis today, university spokesman Pete King said that the regents did not want to “jeopardize” the Davis chancellor’s “pledge to students to keep police presence on campus minimal until the campus … begins to heal.”

This is what UC has come to. The university’s regents feel that a small police presence isn’t enough of a barrier to allow them to sit down in the presence of the system’s students. They have, they say, “no expectation of student violence.” The students of Davis have proven their commitment to nonviolence over and over in recent days, even in the face of egregious violence directed against them. But just a few cops aren’t enough cops to allow the regents to come to their campus and hear their voices without fear.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, the Board of Trustees of the City University of New York are shutting down an entire campus building — a huge building — so that they can meet inside. Classes are being cancelled, staff are being placed on leave, a street is being prepared for barricading, all so the CUNY trustees can hold a regularly scheduled meeting.

When the governing bodies of two of the country’s greatest institutions of higher education are literally, physically walling themselves off from the students of those universities, something has gone deeply deeply wrong.

Silent Majority: California's War on its Students

Depressingly, few of us working at the University of California were surprised by the fact that demonstrating students would be treated with violence. As Officer Pike calmly went about his task, a squad of his colleagues stood passive, affirming that it was business as usual. UC Davis's Chancellor and its Police Chief both reacted as if this were an unpleasant routine, until it became a news item.
The University of California's leaders have been a waging war on students for years. This scene is repeated with increasing force directed at protesters who have sought ever more dramatic ways of demonstrating that they are angry - but not violent. Shouting? Too violent. Standing? Violent. Sitting down and chanting? Still violent. Finally, our students are on the floor with their mouths shut.
We have also witnessed Orwellian twists in the system's efforts to quash dissent. When demonstrating students aren't bludgeoned and sprayed, they are marked with antiquated labels like "disrespectful," "intolerant" and "uncivil" in a prelude to "discipline" and disenfranchisement. In a February 2010 memo ominously titled "Intolerance on Campus," UC President Mark G. Yudof lumped organized student activists together with racists when he compared the Irvine 11 (and UCR 3) to the student who thought that hanging a noose in the UC San Diego library was funny. Both actions, he wrote, showed a lack of "tolerance."
The comparison (which Yudof has made more than once) is chilling. It draws a line of equivalence between a loud but non-violent protest against violence, and an action that is itself shorthand for a quite specific history of harrowing and racially-based violence. Students protesting systemic, state-sanctioned violence were equated with students casually citing lynching.  Meanwhile, those protesting tuition hikes are greeted with truncheons.
For crying out during a presentation by Israel's ambassador to the United States, the Irvine 11 wound up in the middle of a criminal prosecution. The Muslim Student Union was banned from Irvine's campus for six months - an extraordinary disciplinary measure I haven't seen duplicated except in cases of violence at frat parties. In fact, I've seen the latter treated more generously.
One administrative response to "the Irvine 11" has gone completely unnoticed in commentary about the case, perhaps because it is so utterly banal. The Office of Student Conduct forced the three UC Riverside students who participated in that protest to write essays about the First Amendment.
Let me repeat that: UC Riverside's Office of Student Conduct forced three students to write about their right to freedom of expression, as a form of punishment. (In his memo on "campus intolerance" Mark Yudof identifies himself as "a scholar of the First Amendment.")
No UCR faculty member was involved in creating, reading or evaluating that assignment. What self-respecting scholar could bear such a thing? I can think of no surer way of alienating a student from his or her authorial voice that to tell them what to say, and then force them to say it. (Incredibly, these punitive essays are routinely assigned across the UC system.)
There is a violence embedded in that kind of "discipline." It is not the kind that goes viral. It is the kind of thing that feeds on a system like a slow-growing cancer - empowering police officers to wield their weapons as educational tools.
In setting up camps, by so visibly occupying their schools, students acknowledge that they are at risk of being dispossessed of their education if they don't insist on the campus's responsibility to their presence. That University of California leadership has produced a situation in which the most effective protest has been silence should give us all pause.  Students should not have to sit down and shut up in order to avoid being labeled as a threat.
That is one reason why the UC Davis action was so shaming - such a demand is grotesquely at odds with our mission, but it is exactly what the system has been asking students to do. In literalizing that demand, however, UC Davis's students also powerfully asserted their connection with and allegiance to the ever-increasing numbers of people whose mere existence poses a problem to those who have taken so much from them.

Chris Hedges to Occupy Harvard

Tonight, Monday, November 28, Pulitzer Prize winning war correspondent and Nation magazine writer Chris Hedges will embed with Occupy Harvard, spending the night in a tent in Harvard Yard. Hedges will address Occupy Harvard and its supporters at a 5:00 pm rally at Thayer Gate outside of Harvard Yard.

Also on Monday, Harvard students will undertake a day of action, centered on a 3:30pm rally, to express support for University of California students’ strike in response to police violence and to galvanize yet broader support for the Occupy movement on campus and nationwide.

As both the 5:00 pm address and the 3:30 pm rally take place outside the confines of Harvard Yard—which remains unnecessarily on lockdown—they are therefore open and accessible to the media.

Hedges, a vocal supporter of the Occupy movement, is a senior fellow for the Nation Institute and writes regular columns in The Nation and Truthdig. Originally invited by the University to give a talk as part of the Harvard University Humanities Center series, Hedges has chosen instead to use his presence on campus to express solidarity with and support for the Occupy Harvard movement. In so doing, he will leave unoccupied the room booked for him by the University at the Harvard Faculty Club.

An Open Letter and Pledge of Non-Violence to UC President Mark Yudof from the Founder of Occupy Colleges

An Open Letter and Pledge of Non-Violence to UC President Mark Yudof from the Founder of Occupy Colleges,

As a UCLA alumni, I am horrified by the actions taken by the UC police at UC Davis, UC Berkeley and UCLA. In addition, there are new reports from Baruch College and the New School in New York City, about more arrests and abuses against students. These actions must stop!

Isn't it bad enough that they keep raising our tuitions and lowering our quality of education? Now they want to beat us into submission. These tactics will not work.

As a committed member of Occupy Colleges I pledge to continue students actions until we see a true change in our educational system -lower tuition rates, student loan restructuring etc. We are committed as well to supporting the Occupy Wall Street movement because that is "Change we can believe in."

What is happening to students in terms of economic abuses (along with the physical abuse) is a microcosm of what is happening to our country at the national level. The whole nation is paying more for less quality.

That is why Occupy Colleges supports Occupy UC Davis' call for a general strike to bring attention to what is happening on our campuses and in the world.

We will strike on November 28th, the day we all get back from our Thanksgiving Holiday. Let us use this break to mobilize as many people as possible to protest against the economic injustices against students and citizens,  and the dismantling of free speech and the right to peacefully assemble.

If we don't stand up for our rights immediately  there may be none left to stand up for.

In Solidarity,

Natalia Abrams - Occupy Colleges

Nation Interns Choose the Week's Most Important Stories (11/25)

 Our media coverage is often dominated by one big story that crowds out most everything else. As an antidote, every week, Nation interns try to cut through the echo chamber and choose one good article in their area of interest that they feel should receive more attention. Please check out their favorite stories below, watch for this feature each week, and please use the comments section below to alert us to any important articles you feel warrant broader attention.

— Angela Aiuto:

Angela focuses on money in politics.

Inside the Corporate Plan to Occupy the Pentagon,” by Adam Weinstein. Mother Jones, Nov. 21, 2011.

In 2001, then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld created the Pentagon’s Defense Business Board, a task force composed of corporate executives and charged with creating “a cost effective military.” Over the past decade, the board’s recommendations to that end have reflected its decidedly pro-business bias, boosting the salaries of “management talent” while putting military pensions and job security on the chopping block. With the Pentagon now facing a potential $1 trillion in cuts over the next ten years, will the board’s recommendations be considered in a new light?

—Cal Colgan:

Cal follows the drug war and human rights in Latin America.

A narco’s case against the U.S.,” by Michelle García. Salon, Nov. 14, 2011.

This piece from Salon provides an overview of the US government's alleged support of the Sinaloa cartel in Mexico. Michelle Garcia notes that various government agencies' use of the Sinaloa cartel for information on key players in the drug war extends farther back than the ATF's botched Fast & Furious campaign. Garcia writes that agencies like Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) have used informants in the cartel since at least 2003, when Sinaloa cartel smuggler Guillermo Ramirez Peyro was on ICE's payroll, even as he participated in the Juarez cartel's "House of Death." Such information may add credence to high-ranking Sinaloa cartel member Jesus Vicente Zambada Niebla's claims in court that U.S. agents often ignore the Sinaloa cartel's criminal activity to use them as an unlikely ally in the drug war.

— Teresa Cotsirilos:

Teresa focuses on "Global South" politics, or sociopolitical developments in areas of the developing world.

“Cheers to the Silicon Valley of [insert country name here],” by John Sutter. CNN, Nov. 17, 2011.

Gamers in Argentina. App developers in Kenya. This article provides a brief survey of some of the burgeoning hubs of technological innovation throughout the world—and show cases some pretty ingenious new programs that could go a long way to improving the quality of life in certain developing countries. My personal favorite: Ushahidi, a Kenyan open-source platform for mapping crises in real time. Rumor has it that it's already being used by activists in Egypt to protest more safely and effectively.

— Paolo Cravero:

Paolo follows war, peace, and security.

Revolution 2.0,” by Steven A. Cook. Foreign Policy, Nov. 22, 2011.

An interesting analysis of the role of the military junta in Egypt as Cairo is on the verge of another revolutionary wave. A clarifying moment in Egyptian political transition or the beginning of a descent into chaos?

— Erika Eichelberger:

Erika follows the environmental beat.

Energy Dept. offered to put private investors ahead of taxpayers if Solyndra went bankrupt,” by Ronnie Greene. The Center for Public Integrity, Nov. 16, 2011.

This week's article from the Center for Public Integrity details the way in which the DoE sold taxpayers short when it refinanced Solyndra's loan last year. As it became clear that the the floundering solar start-up faced possible bankruptcy, the DoE made an offer to Solyndra's investors: if they raised an additional $75 million to help keep the company afloat, investors--one of whom is an Obama bundler--would collect bankruptcy funds before taxpayers, meaning they now have the first chance to recover.

— Josh Eidelson:

Josh covers the labor beat.

Rank and File Slate Takes Over Giant California Campus Local,” by Marie Choi. Labor Notes, Nov. 21, 2011.

A challenger slate swept internal leadership elections last month in an AFSCME local covering 20,000 University of California employees.  The election may have turned on questions facing labor across the country: in an age of unnecessary austerity and existential threat, what (if any) concessions are acceptable?  How do unions build strong partnerships with students and social movements?  

— Eli Epstein-Deutsch:

Eli looks at the intersection of politics, ideas and economics from a macro perspective.

High executive pay 'corrosive' to the UK economy, report warns,” by Allegra Stratton. The Guardian, Nov. 21, 2011.

If austerity is what one seeks, a reminder that the boardroom is the ideal place to start. The Guardian has an excellent account of the broadly negative economic effects of outsize executive pay, which has major ramifications across the Anglophone world (where it is most pronounced.)

— Collier Meyerson:

Collier’s beat is discrimination.

Secrecy Surrounds Inmate Suicides in California State Prisons,” by Julianne Hing. Colorlines, Nov. 21, 2011.

Colorlines reports that in the last month, 3 male prisoners of the California state penitentiary system have committed suicide. Ironically, all of the men had been taking part in a hunger strike aimed at reversing dire prison conditions in their state.  Their deaths would have gone unnoticed had it not been for The Prison Solidarity Hunger Strike Coalition, a Bay Area group that had been working with the men during their fast. A spokesperson for The California Department of Corrections denied the mens involvement in the hunger strike and - as they are notorious for doing - withheld any information on their suicides. The dubious deaths are a grave accent to the tireless work being done by advocacy groups to penetrate our justice system's opacity.

— Allie Tempus:

Allie follows human rights.

Interview with a pepper-sprayed UC Davis student,” by Xeni Jardin. Boing Boing, Nov. 20, 2011.

This is interview is great because it is candid and from the heart of an anonymous student who told Chancellor Katehi at University of California Davis "I hold you personally responsible for inflicting pain on me." Important on-the-ground context at UC Davis is provided, as are graphic descriptions of the harmful effects of police-grade pepper spray: "I got up crawling. I crawled away and vomited on a tree. I was yelling. It burned. Within a few minutes I was dry heaving, I couldn't breathe." The engaging immediacy of accounts like these is what continues to fuel the fire of the Occupy movement. This interview helpfully captures last weekend's dark moment with more than a snippet or sound-byte or fleeting conversation.

— Jin Zhao:

Jin follows the US’s image in international media.

China: United States Begins 'Pacific Century,' Online Nationalism Follow,” by John Kennedy. Global Voices, Nov. 20, 2011.

The Obama administration's "Pacific swing" that will increase the US's presence in the Pacific Ocean through, among other diplomatic efforts, a trade deal that excludes China and a new permanent US military presence in Australia, has triggered a surge of nationalist expressions online from Chinese public. Many Chinese are unhappy about Chinese leaders' "soft" response to the US's perceived threat, and believe that China should strengthen its military and take a hardline position when dealing with the US, a position nevertheless very unlikely to materialize in China's foreign policy, contrary to the author John Kennedy suggests.   

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