Thursday, September 17, 2009

Solidarity Meeting

This was forwarded to us from a graduate student at U of A. We don't have time to edit it, so please ignore the question marks that always end up in the middle of e-mails for some reason or another:

"At the University of Arizona we are facing the most dramatic budget cuts andrestructuring in a generation. These cuts will affect everyaspect of the University system ? from the quality of education available tostudents, to the conditions of our labor as researchers, teachers, administrators and staff.

The administration is pursuing a strategy designed to weaken our capacity forcollective action, our ability to protect our interests and participate in thebudget and restructuring process.
In some departments, Graduate Teaching Assistants, already working for povertywages, have seen their salaries slashed. In others, course loads have beenexpanded overnight, with little explanation and no accountability. Facultyhave been furloughed in a way that minimizes disruption to teaching, andmaximizes the possibility that they will continue working without pay. Hiringfreezes and layoffs are undermining the integrity and functioning ofdepartments and spreading work around to already over-burdened faculty andstaff. And the decisions about whose budget is cut, by how much and why havebeen anything but transparent and accountable, let alone "participatory". All of this while new fees and "tuition surcharges" reduce access to andaffordability of higher education, redistributing the burden of budgetshortfalls onto the backs of students.

The UA budget has been cut as much as possible under the current stimulus?package. If it is cut any more, we will lose our stimulus funding. The 2011state budget will not include any stimulus money, and state? revenues arealready coming in under projection. We will have no protection from furtherdramatic cuts after this fiscal year.

By subjecting the budgetary restructuring to an arbitrary and subjective processwhose impact is felt differentially, we remain divided and pitted against eachother, rather than capable of uniting around our common interests. As long aswe remain separated in our individual colleges and departments we will have nopower or voice as our colleagues lose their jobs, as the conditions of ourlabor and the quality of our institution deteriorates, and as the legislatureand administration continue to pull the rug out from under our feet.

For these reasons, we invite graduate assistants, faculty and staff to a meetingon Friday September 18 at 2pm on the fountain in front of Old Main organize anaction in solidarity with the faculty, staff and students of the UC system."

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