Thursday, November 19, 2009
On Thursday November 12th on UB’s South Campus UBSAS hosted a forum on Public Education in the face of budget cuts and legislation like New York State Assembly-Senate Bill 2020 part of University President Simpson’s UB 2020 vision. Participants included representatives from United University Professions (UUP), the Graduate Student Employees Union (GSEU) CWA1104, Buffalo Class Action, and students from African and African American studies, and Global Gender Studies. There were about thirty participants and lively discussion about how we can stop the University from using the budget cuts as an excuse to abuse students and workers through privatization, the destruction of marginalized departments, and the dismantling of any democratic structures that may exist in the University. Privatization means taking away any idea that UB may be a institute of higher learning and not simply a money making venture; only departments that could make the University money would be kept, many workers on campus would become contracted out loosing the protections of being in a union, and tuition would inevitably rise without corresponding raises in financial aid squeezing out working class students. Some of these are part of the proposals in the Assembly-Senate Bill 2020, but whether or not this bill passes the University will use the excuse of budget cuts to destroy the democracy and mission of the University. We are seeing this across the country as Universities willy-nilly cut worker’s salaries and benefits, raise tuition, cut departments, but continue to pay exorbitant salaries to administrators, and break ground on new building projects. Participants left the forum hoping to form a coalition to tackle the corporatization of our University (which in the direction it is heading will no longer even remotely be our University). If you are interested in more information or in getting involved please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org .