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14 February 2010 / ellapelea

picket against the budget cuts

Our first action as a group, a picket on campus last Thursday, was a success. We held signs that said “Chop from the top” and “Budget Cuts Equal White Supremacy.” We chanted loudly. “Whose university? Our university!” and “They say cut back, we say fight back!”

We flyered for our first event. You can see the flyer here.

We also read out our demands and perspectives on what is going on at the university. You can read them below.

We are with the group ¡ella pelea! and we are fighting the budget cuts and the tuition hikes because we know that when the university cuts back, people of color, women, and queers are the first ones to be put on the chopping block.

Over the last six years, tuition has gone up by over 50 percent.

UT is becoming a school only for the white middle class who can afford the education. After cutting affirmative action in 1997, now they want to cut the Top 10% admissions policy, which provides access to UT for many women, working people and people of color.  Even though public schools in Texas are majority people of color, UT looks nothing like the state of Texas!

UT is also one of the few schools of its size that doesn’t provide domestic partner benefits!  And in addition to poor and over-priced childcare facilities, higher tuition makes it almost impossible for mothers to go to school.  Yet UT can still afford to pay Mack Brown 5 million dollars a year!

The administrators try to make us feel better about budget cuts by comparing us to California schools, but even after their 32 percent tuition hike, we still pay more to go to school than they do!

It is appalling that President Powers makes over 600 grand and yet funding for TAs is being cut! TAs are already over worked and the fewer of them there are, undergraduate education becomes even worse. But administrators have gotten 30 percent raises in the last few years.

They say only these so-called professionals can run the university, but we can see where the administration’s and the regents’ priorities lie.  This is not a financial crisis, this is a crisis of democracy.  Enough is enough!  It is time to fight back!

We demand:

1. A freeze on tuition and democratic control over tuition by students and community members.

2. No layoffs for faculty and staff, an end to speed-up for workers, and an end to flat-rate tuition for students – If times are tight, then cut administrator salaries!

3. Democratic control over curriculum by students, workers and community members – We determine the quality of our education!

4. Open enrollment and an end to the two-tier system of education – Education is a public right for all people!

We will be rallying on campus with other groups on March 4th at noon to protest the cuts. We will show the administrators and the regents that students, workers and faculty know how to run this campus better than they do.

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