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Milwaukee students march for education rights

By Jacob Flom |
March 2, 2012
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UWM students protest March 1 for education rights
UWM students protest March 1 for education rights (Fight Back! News/Staff)
UWM students protest March 1 for education rights
UWM students protest March 1 for education rights

Milwaukee, WI - Hundreds of students, faculty, and staff rallied at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee (UWM) for the March 1st National Day of Action for Education rights. Members of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), AFSCME Local 82, and AFT Locals marched across campus chanting "No remorse, no regret, we wont pay our student debt!" The crowd stopped at the Chancellor's office to present the demands of the Education Rights Coalition, where they were met by members of the administration. The coalition demands include a tuition freeze, student loan debt forgiveness, and collective bargaining rights for public employee unions affected by Governor Scott Walker's union busting.

The campaign also demanded the administration "Chop From the Top" by cutting salaries of university administrators before cutting the pay of faculty and staff. The university administration also held their own event on March 1st, an event to select a new Provost who will receive an estimated $80,000 pay raise to his six-figure salary, all while faculty and staff are seeing the biggest cuts in decades. Protesters marched into the event early to conduct their own teach-in led by graduate student members of AFT Local 2169.

The teach-in

When the Interim Provost took the stage to make his case for an $80,000 pay raise, teachers, students, and staff who have been affected by cuts began a silent picket inside the room, holding "Chop From the Top" signs. During the question and answer period, SDS member Willa Leannah grilled the Provost about the anticipated pay raise while students are struggling to pay tuition. Students at UWM work more hours than students at any other state school, while UWM tuition doubled in the last ten years and the UW system was cut 21% by Scott Walker's administration. Student loan debt has already surpassed credit card debt, and is expected to exceed $1 trillion this year.

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