This week, former students of Corinthian Colleges — a predatory for-profit school that once boasted more than 100 campuses across the country — received news that their student loans will be canceled. In an announcement, a Department of Education (DOE) press release called the move “the largest single loan discharge the Department has made in history.” As a former student of Everest College, which is a branch of Corinthian, I am overjoyed that everyone who attended the scam school will finally be made whole. The action, announced on June 2, will impact 560,000 former Corinthian students and $5.8 in total student debt will be cancelled. This amounts to a stunning victory for debtors who took collective action to win relief.
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On Sunday, May 29, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland gave the commencement speech at the Harvard University graduation ceremony for the class of 2020-21. Harvard students teamed up with Boston Area Assange Defense and other local activists to protest Garland’s speech over the continued prosecution of Julian Assange. Mike Miccioli, class of ’22, explained why he and other Harvard students decided to use the commencement speech to draw attention to Assange’s plight: “The prosecution of Julian Assange violates the First Amendment right to a free press. If Assange’s work with Manning is criminalized, this would open the door for any investigative journalist to be prosecuted for their standard work.
Tel Aviv, Israel - This month, City University of New York’s (CUNY) law school faculty unanimously passed a resolution endorsing the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement, joining a chorus of American universities advocating for Palestinian rights. Harvard University’s Crimson newspaper endorsed the movement earlier this year, with 50 of the school’s faculty members supporting the decision. And in March, the Middle East Studies Association also voted to endorse the BDS movement. As college campuses across the U.S. grow in their support for Palestine, their administrations – many still having relations with major Israeli universities complicit in Israel’s occupation of Palestine – appear less likely to agree.
In 2016, a Black Oberlin College student attempted to use a fake ID to purchase alcohol at Gibson’s Bakery, a long-standing local business in Oberlin, Ohio. Allegedly, the store employee spotted additional bottles of wine tucked into the student’s coat. The employee pursued the student into the street, where the student, employee, and several of the student’s friends got into a scuffle. Oberlin police arrived at the scene and arrested the three undergraduates involved. The next day, Oberlin College students began protesting Gibson’s Bakery, alleging that the incident took place within a longer history of racial profiling and discrimination. Gibson’s Bakery sued Oberlin College. The lawsuit alleged that Oberlin College played a role in defaming the bakery because Oberlin employees spoke at protests, gave credit to students who skipped classes to attend the demonstrations, reimbursed students for refreshments and gloves purchased for protestors, and allowed students to use university photocopiers for free. The protests were controversial, both among townspeople and Oberlin employees. But what came next is far more clear cut: the lawsuit was decided in a way that endangered student speech. Courts held Oberlin College responsible for defaming Gibson’s Bakery. Oberlin College was ordered to pay $11 million in compensatory damages, $33 million (later reduced to $25 million) in punitive damages, and $6.5 million in reimbursement for legal fees.
In response to Tuesday’s massacre at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, which left at least 17 people injured, 19 elementary students and two teachers dead, students and teachers across the United States walked out of school Thursday to protest gun violence. Several walkouts occurred at schools where memories are still fresh from their own tragic experience with mass homicidal violence, a routine phenomenon in capitalist America. At Oxford High School, located on the outskirts of the Detroit, Michigan metro region, where a school shooting last December left four students dead, hundreds of students walked out of school and amassed on the football field, where they formed a “U” in support of Uvalde.