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Chicago City Colleges: Students, workers, community members announce plans to march on Rahm Emanuel’s inauguration

By staff |
May 14, 2011
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May 13 press conference announces protest at Emanuel's inauguration
Participants in May 13 press conference announce plans to protest at the inauguration of incoming mayor Rahm Emanuel (Fight Back! News/Staff)

Chicago, IL- In a press conference held May 13, City College faculty and students joined forces with community activists to protest attacks coming down on the colleges from the Board of Trustees and Chancellor Cheryl Hyman. Professor Jessi Choe of Wright College announced plans to protest at the inauguration of incoming mayor Rahm Emanuel, Monday, May 16 at 9:30 a.m. Marching from Roosevelt University to Millennium Park, they will demand the trustees hold public hearings so students, workers and the community have their voices heard.

Viviana Moreno of Students for a Democratic Society at Wright College criticized the “Reinvention” process underway throughout the seven-school system. “So far the only changes we have seen are cuts of staff who serve students,” said Moreno. Jokarhi Miller, student at Malcolm X College and District student council parliamentarian, said over 225 essential employees are being taken away.

Professor Choe called attention to the fact that the city colleges serve working class, minority nationality and immigrant students. Community activist Nubian Malik in turn exposed that the other changes in the “Reinvention” program were 54 new top administrators with a total salary of $5.1 million.

Reverend Paul Jakes of New Tabernacle of Faith Baptist Church criticized the Board for forcing six of the seven presidents of the colleges to reapply for their jobs. When they were chosen the process was more open and a number of presidents receive positive marks by their students and faculty. Choe exposed that the Board hired a consultant for over $300,000 to perform the search for the new chancellor, Hyman, who has no background in education.

The activists are also demanding that Martin Cabrera, the Board of Trustees chairman, call a public hearing on May 26, in the evening, and advertise it two weeks in advance, in, for example, community newspapers. Miller explained, “They call it Chicago Community College for a reason: it’s supposed to serve the community.” He called for public meetings that can hear from the people, and not, “… an illusion of inclusion.”

While the coalition stated their hope the new mayor would have a fresh start and mark an end of the Daley administration history of patronage and privatization, the actions by what will now be Emmanuel’s City College Board caused Jokarhi Miller to call for “an end to mayoral control.”