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Whaddup California?!? Portland State Marches 4th!
Why is it that neoliberal banks and corporations are bailed out while students are squeezed of every last penny by predatory student loans amidst our financial feeding frenzy?
On March 4th, over 400 students, community members and professors protested on the Park Blocks of Portland State University in solidarity with a national call to defend public education. Several student groups in collaboration with student government organized the rally as a direct response to the proposed economic deregulation and restructuring of PSU.
Students feel that the state funded institution is augmenting corporate interests while diminishing the quality, affordability and access to higher education. Students demonstrated their bravery by walking out of class at 1pm to express their heightened level of disgust and indignation with administrative ineptness and bureaucratic subterfuge. Speakers discussed the financial mismanagement of the education system in order to keep those who might be agents of social change in debt and bondage.
Local drumming troupe; Powder Keg led students, faculty and the public in a rigorous display of resistance to the neo-liberal capitalist vision of 'education' presented by the administration and board. The crowd proceeded to march across campus, occupying the hallways of the administration offices. There they presented the following demands agreed upon by students at all three of the universities in the Oregon University System:
1) Support the setting of tuition and fees by the state board of education and in the legislature.
2) Oppose the deregulation of the statewide governance structure currently fulfilled by the Oregon State Board of Higher Education of the OUS.
3) Oppose the public corporation model such as the one proposed in the Frohnmayer report or any close derivative.
4) Support securing a state funding level for all post-secondary schools.
5) Support a truly public mission in Oregon that ensures access to post-secondary education for all people in Oregon regardless of financial ability.
6) Support adequate funding for faculty and staff members to at bare minimum the national average.
Behind rapidly locked doors, a suddenly receptive administration expressed their interest in the student's demands. At the end of the day students acknowledged their success and expressed their committed continuation to this ongoing campaign. March 4th actions simultaneously occurring across the nation highlight the stark reality of an Amerikan education system in crisis. Similar models for student engagement with this current educational crisis are being replicated all over the county, most notably initiated by the heroic efforts of students at UC Berkeley.