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University of Minnesota Joins in National Day of Action for Education Rights

By Grace Kelley

Activist speaking at University of Minnesota Rally

Minneapolis, MN – Students for a Democratic Society at the U of M held a rally, March 2, in front of the student union to demand no tuition hikes, no staff layoffs and shared governance for all members of the university community. It was part of a day of action called by Students for a Democratic Society nationally. Despite extreme temperatures, 50 students, staff and faculty attended, chanting, “Fund education, not administration,” and “They say cut back? We say fight back!”

Speakers included representatives from SDS, AFSCME local 3800 (the fighting clerical workers' union), La Raza Student Cultural Center, Faculty for the Renewal of Public Education and the Committee to Stop FBI Repression.

Tracy Molm, SDS member and organizer for AFSCME local 3800, spoke on behalf of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression, saying, “I am sick of U.S. tax dollars funding wars instead of educations.”

Another demand of the education rights campaign at the U of M is, “Hands off the cultural centers.” The second floor of the student union at the U of M is made up of student cultural centers and student group office spaces. The entire floor is under threat as the administration considers replacing it with homogenous resource center and refuses to consider the importance of this community to the university. SDS speaker Chris Getowitz stated that SDS, while not a second floor group, stands in solidarity with these organizations: “The second floor is a safe space for marginalized voices on this campus. The U of M should be expanding these spaces, not eliminating them!”

There was also a focus on the struggle happening in the neighboring state of Wisconsin, where workers are fighting for collective bargaining rights. AFSCME 3800 Chief Steward Cherrene Horazuk talked about the importance of standing in solidarity with people around the world and at home fighting for their rights, “...united we bargain, but divided we beg.” SDS and AFSCME Local 3800 committed to continue to stand in solidarity with those fighting in Wisconsin.

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