On March 1, thousands of students are expected to occupy their colleges to voice concerns over rising tuition costs and the diminishing quality of education. For so long students have found themselves helpless in the face of inaction by politicians and a culture which has chosen to ignore America’s education crisis. But re-energized by the birth of a new season and the Occupy movement, students will demand real change in America’s failing higher education system.
While grievances vary by campuses, they all include demands for a stay in tuition increases and transparency in accounting. Fifty-nine colleges and universities have registered for actions as of today. All registered institutions have at least 100 participants pledged to attend this call to action. Among the registered schools are Temple University with 700 participants, California State University, Long Beach with 500 participants, Ohio State University with 400, University of Massachusetts, Amherst with 200 and the notable participation of Occupy Colleges’ first international solidarity group at EWHA Womans University of Seoul, South Korea, with 500 pledged participants. Other participating schools include American University, Columbia University, George Washington University, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, North Carolina State University and University of Las Vegas.
While all actions will begin at college and university campuses, some have incorporated symbolic efforts like marching to local departments of education, assembling in front of administration buildings, creating “tiny-tent” cities, holding teach-ins, re-occupying evicted Occupy campgrounds and collaborating with sympathetic students, parents and teachers of all education levels at neighboring Occupy demonstrations.
As a part of this call to action Occupy Colleges has put forth a petition to ask all state governors to refrain from any more cuts in education in their state budgets. The petition is a collaborative effort by 20 student representatives of various American colleges and universities. The petition’s immediate goal is to get 10,000 signatures by April 1 and eventually reach the 100,000 mark. To learn more and lend your support go to http://studentsoccupy.nationbuilder.com/.
Occupy Colleges’ goal is to bring much needed attention to the Occupy Wall Street Movement at a time when more and more high school students are foregoing a college education because their families can no longer afford it, while others are graduating college with inconceivable amounts of debt and stepping into the worse job market in decades. Occupy Colleges represents students who share these fears and support Occupy Wall Street. Its objective is to provide a unifying forum and means of support for students nationwide focusing on making tuition affordable for all and increasing the quality of higher education in America.
Please log on to Occupy Colleges’ official website for a list of participating schools, to register your school or learn more about how to organize a group or event at your university.