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Minnesota students rally for education rights

By Kelly O'Brien |
March 13, 2012
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Minneapolis, MN - Over 65 people joined a March 1 protest here for education rights at the University of Minnesota campus. Students, staff and faculty rallied outside of Morrill Hall, the administrative building on campus, to call for transparency in governance, an end to bloated administration, and no tuition hikes or staff and faculty layoffs.

The Minneapolis protest was a part of a national day of action for education rights.

The rally began with speakers from all areas of student life, including representatives from student groups La Raza, Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), and Women’s Student Activist Collective, the graduate student unionization effort and staff and faculty members.

Energy was high as speakers called on the administration to chop from the top as tuition and fees rise at unprecedented rates.

Cherrene Horazuk of AFSCME Local 3800 said, “We, the front line staff, see the impact of the corporate agenda of the university…we see the ‘golden parachutes’ given to leaving administrators. Last year, $2.8 billion were spent on these administrators who quit their jobs.” Connections were made between the bloated administrative salaries and cuts elsewhere, as highlighted by Charmaine Chua of the graduate assistant union drive. She exposed the university’s poor treatment of graduate workers, who “come at low labor costs, which allows the U to continue to exploit [the grad student labor] to put exorbitant salaries into pockets of administrators at the top.”

After hearing from speakers, SDS called on attendees to sign a petition to be placed on the all-student-election ballot, demanding cuts to administrative salaries and unnecessary spending and an end to tuition hikes without a campus-wide student vote. SDS member Mia Overly said, “This puts the power back into the hands of the students!”

Shortly after the rally, students led a march through campus down University Avenue, taking to the streets with signs and chants.

For more information contact SDS at: [email protected]