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Campus Protests on Union Concerns, Trump Agenda

March 2, 2017
 
 

Students and faculty members in a number of cities participated in #CampusResistance protests organized by Service Employees International Union Wednesday. Participants voiced concerns about non-tenure-track faculty and graduate employee pay and working conditions, student debt and discrimination, linking them to larger criticisms of the Trump administration. Some held signs saying “Reclaim higher ed for the public good,” among other slogans.

Malini Cadambi-Daniel, director of higher education for SEIU, attended a gathering at Boston University, where salaried, non-tenure-track faculty members are currently negotiating their first union contract, and where some have asked the administration to formally declare it a sanctuary campus for undocumented students. She said that Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos “represent the low-road education agenda,” in that they’re “anti-educator, anti-worker, pro-corporate.”

Protest at the University of Chicago/Twitter

Several Chicago campuses saw protests, including the University of Chicago, where non-tenure-track faculty members are also negotiating their first union contract. Jeremy Manier, a university spokesperson, said administrators and union members have been meeting regularly, “and we are committed to continuing to bargain in good faith.”

In Washington, adjuncts at Saint Martin’s University -- which has challenged their vote to form a union, citing its Roman Catholic identity -- planned a morning walkout and afternoon labor march, using the slogan “Give up union busting for Lent.” Graduate employees at Duke University, who are awaiting a challenged vote count on their recent union election, gathered on campus, as did students and faculty members at the University of Southern California and the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, among other institutions.

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