Don’t downplay the occupation

UMN Solidarity’s occupation of the Social Sciences Building is serious.

It is interesting that the Minnesota Daily has decided that UMN SolidarityâÄôs occupation of the Social Sciences Building is not an important issue. This is evident since an article about yet more budget cuts to higher education made the front page the same day the story about the occupation ran. This is the exact problem that UMN Solidarity is confronting.
A March 30 story said that demands like respecting of workers rights to organize and earn a living wage, tuition and fee reduction, and the democratic election of the Board of Regents by the University of Minnesota community are âÄúbroad demands.âÄù
Yet another article about education cuts warrants the front page, but the article about the students rallying to change this course of action is placed two pages back. If the intention of the Daily is to downplay the movement, itâÄôs succeeding.
The protest is not small either: There were about 50 UMN Solidarity students in the building Monday night, and more students have become involved since then.
IâÄôm curious to know why respecting workers rights is not a modest demand and why tuition reduction and a democratic election of the regents are described as âÄúbroadâÄù when everyone in the community should have a right to all of these things. This is a public university, not a business.
The University belongs to everyone, not just the president who makes $610,000 a year plus benefits, nor to other overpaid staff in administration. The University is supposed to be about students and teachers, not administrators who have little to nothing to do with education. Administrators just squeeze as much money into their pockets as possible by raising tuition, cutting funding and leaving students with such high loans that the interest is itself a profit.
The demands of UMN Solidarity are modest and should be taken seriously.