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Reviving Student Action And Strike Solidarity

The decade since the abolition of the university fee cap in 2012 has felt painfully long for staff and students. Universities are no longer fertile ground for public knowledge but an exercise in marketized competition, commodification and over-inflated managerialism. Accordingly, students are increasingly framed as consumers entrapped in swelling debt, while overworked academics are forced to dedicate more time to admin than to teaching or research. It’s not that the university sector is strapped for cash. With more than 2,500 managerial staff on six-figure salaries and the average vice chancellor raking in £250,000, students know exactly where their £9,000 a year is going. Moreover, with the decline in direct government funding and the near abolition of teaching and maintenance grants, universities are becoming bigger players in the finance sector.

Medical Students Walk Out On Antiabortion Speaker

University of Michigan medical students walked out on a speech Sunday by an antiabortion speaker during their “white coat day” to mark the start of medical school. In the weeks before the speech, students petitioned to have the speaker changed. The speaker was Kristin Collier, an assistant professor at the medical school. She has spoken out many times against abortion. “While we support the rights of freedom of speech and religion, an anti-choice speaker as a representative of the University of Michigan undermines the University’s position on abortion and supports the non-universal, theology-rooted platform to restrict abortion access, an essential part of medical care,” said the petition. “This is not simply a disagreement on personal opinion; through our demand we are standing up in solidarity against groups who are trying to take away human rights and restrict medical care.”

International Students In Ontario Are Fighting Wage Theft

In Brampton, Ontario, a small team of young organizers has begun taking on the businesses that exploit them, one case at a time. The Naujawan Support Network, a collective of international students and migrant workers from Punjab, India, has won back more than $200,000 Canadian ($154,000 U.S.) in stolen wages in just over a year. “We started a year ago because we observed that there was an increase in suicides among international students,” said Simran Dhunna, one of the founding members of NSN. “Every week we would see GoFundMes raising funds to cover the costs of sending the corpse of a young worker back home. A big reason behind it was the exploitation people faced.” Over 30 percent of international students in Canada come from India, and while enrollment of Indian students in Canada has increased by nearly 200 percent over the last five years, many are struggling.

Students Nationwide Urge Biden to Support Global COVID Vaccine

Washington, D.C. – As governments worldwide prepare to meet at the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva for its first ministerial summit since the start of the pandemic, more than 750 students across the U.S. are calling on President Joe Biden to support a comprehensive waiver of WTO rules standing in the way of COVID vaccine, test and treatment access. “While COVID vaccines are readily available throughout the United States, that’s still not the case for billions of people worldwide,” said Noël Hutton, student outreach coordinator for the Trade Justice Education Fund. “The U.S. has a major role to play in removing barriers to vaccine and treatment access.

Chicago Students Want Police Out Of Their Schools

Chicago, Illinois - On June 2, 250 students at Little Village Lawndale High School (LVLHS) in Chicago walked out of school to demand “Police out!” They marched through Little Village, which is the largest Latino neighborhood in Chicago, to the North Lawndale neighborhood, which is a Black community. The protest was organized by the LVLHS FightBack student group, which called for “Black and Brown Unity.” Other demands raised by the students included equitable funding for all four schools. They explained there are four separate schools within one building. The school which has a predominantly Black student body receives less funding per student than the other three. They also want an end to punitive policies on students. They explained that they want outreach workers and community violence prevention specialists in their schools.
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