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article imageU-Mass Student Leaders Call for 2-Day Strike

By Andi Bryant     Nov 11, 2007 in World
Fuelled by what they feel is pure inequality, student leaders are asking students to refrain from attending classes and work on November 15 and 16 in an effort to have their collective voices heard by the administration.
Student leaders at UMass-Amerst are asking both undergraduate and graduate students to refrain from attending classes and work on November 15 and 16 in an effort to get a little of the administration's attention on what they feel is inequality and failure to listen to student concerns.
According to Students are demanding a rollback of what they call "exorbitant" student fees, more funding for diversity accountability, plus they want to get police patrols out of dorms and a return of student control of student spaces.
Student fees currently hover around $8000 a year, with one individual who took the online name of Nothing Too Fear, rallying for the strike over the high fees by saying that actual tuition is only around $856.00.
Other issues surrounding the upcoming strike focus on the students' desire to regain control over their own student space, the administration's elimination of outreach programs for prospective low-income students, better diversity funding allocation for graduate students, and police presence in dorms that students say brings unwarranted searches and intimidation. Students feel that these are violations of rights and student dignity.
The strike's agenda organizers plan to fill up the two-day class time loss with a rally and teach-ins.
The front page of the Graduate Student Senate reads, For too long, the concerns of graduate and undergraduate students have been ignored by the administration of the school. From starving student support centers, to defying student/faculty opposition to Andrew Card's honorary degree, to prolonging and dismissing union contract negotiations, to an utter unaccountability to diversity issues, those of us who study and teach here have been marginalized. It is time to change."
Former Chief of Staff, Andrew Card received an honorary degree in public service from the College in May, causing protest among students, staff, and community at his presentation during the 2007 commencement ceremony. The Student body saw Card as a war criminal, and felt his role in the dissemination of what they felt was deceptive evidence to justify the Iraq War should not have been recognized by presenting him with an honorary degree.
Sociology Professor Gianpaolo Baiocchi said, "We are a public University. We belong to Massachusetts not political agendas. The world community thinks this war is a disaster so why are we honoring it?"
When the degree was presented, the crowd booed so loudly, the presenter's remarks were drowned out.
The students want a voice and some input in certain matters. Without being heard, they suggest that morale among the student body suffers and deteriorates.
We are calling for a campuswide STUDENT STRIKE on NOVEMBER 15 and 16. This action is intended as merely a first step, in a larger struggle to gain equity and respect for students (and students who work) on this campus."
More about Umass-amherst, Strike, Inequality
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