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Fed up students propose campus-wide strike

Columnist

Published: Monday, January 14, 2013

Updated: Monday, January 14, 2013 01:01

IU

Courtesy of: Indiana Daily Student

Students in Bloomington met in December to discuss all-campus strike.

MS

Courtesy of: Mandi Steffey


Just when the Chik-fil-A thing quieted down, a new controversy bound to stir up conversation and affect this campus has surfaced. It’s a proposed strike on all Indiana University campuses set to occur on April 11 and 12 during the annual Board of Trustees meeting. This strike isn’t a normal employee strike—it’s a system-wide strike for students and others who disagree with the proposed IU tuition hike set to take place. According to the Courier-Journal, a student-run group called Student Power IU is concerned with a myriad of problems that not only affect the Bloomington campus, IU South Bend’s as well.

This situation has been well-known in Bloomington for at least a month since a large group gathered to discuss the situation, but an IUSB student recently tipped me off to what was going on. James Dewitt, an IUSB student and member of Student Power IU, hopes to get the protest ball rolling.

“This April, we, the IU Student Power group, are planning a campus and possibly statewide protest to show student dissatisfaction with the powers that be, and to address issues such as rape prevention programs and other student concerns,” he said.

According to Dewitt, the problem could grow outside of the college atmosphere, as some students predict the strike should and will go statewide.

“Basically, there is a group of students that are planning a statewide protest against a state decrease in educational spending. If the state decides to cut back its educational spending on colleges, it will drive up the cost,” Dewitt said.

The problems vary, but each school might have its own bone to pick.

“Of course, each campus may have its own set of problems they want to signal out,” he said.

As each campus might be calculating what exactly to do, the wheels are already turning in Bloomington, and according to Dewitt, the Indianapolis campus, too.

The Indiana Daily Student, IU Bloomington’s student newspaper, reports that more than 50 people gathered in a lounge on the Bloomington campus to air their grievances about several campus issues. A student-run blog, www.IUonStrike.tumblr.com, claims that among the problems, students are concerned with the state’s funding of part of IU’s budget compared with the amount that tuition and fees paid for by students provides. As years have gone by, the state’s funding of schools in the IU system has gone down, forcing schools to have less to work with, and in result, raising tuition rates. According to the blog, tuition rates at IU have increased 45% over the last six years.

The blog also claims that this is the result of some sort of fishy business: “Meanwhile, the administration continues to fund the construction of unnecessary new buildings and luxury-style apartment suites to attract wealthy students.”

The blog claims that despite increasing tuition fees, the IU school system is headed toward a “market-based” business philosophy only interested in cutting costs.

“A market-based education system will result in more standardized coursework and sterile campus life for students, increasing career uncertainty and limitations for academics, and the institutionalization of social immobility,” the blog states.

While some of our tuition fees might go towards “unnecessary buildings,” as the blog puts it, I think it’s important to point out that one of these buildings being deemed unneeded might be the new Education and Arts building on our campus that’s set to open later this year. While students on other campuses might not see the value in adding a new building on another campus, I, for one, am looking forward to using the building, and other students here on campus should have a reason to celebrate, too. In addition to being environmentally sustainable and an aesthetic improvement to our (lovably) small campus, there will finally be 24-hour computer labs. If students in Bloomington think erecting a building like this is “unnecessary,” they’re not familiar with the privileges that they have on their huge, cutting-edge campus. It’s a 1+ for IUSB, for sure, and if some portion of these proposed tuition hikes helped to put our new building up, I’m alright with it.

Be that as it may, there are undoubtedly things that the IU school system is paying for that students, faculty, and workers from all campuses might not agree with.

Looking into this money issue is clearly opening a can of worms, but believe it or not, students are angry for much more than that. In addition to the tuition problem, students are complaining of racism and racist practices, and also poor working conditions for on-campus jobs, though the focus on those issues seems to be in Bloomington.

Even though the issue might be centralized at the Bloomington campus, our campus could very well be a part of this, as Student Power IU is calling for an all campus system-wide strike. Since tuition fees have been and will be raised on every campus, students on our campus like Dewitt have caught wind of the issue and are understanding what the implications could be for students at IUSB.

So what would a strike mean on our campus? According to the same blog I mentioned earlier, this strike would call for students boycotting classes, professors cancelling classes, and campus workers calling in sick or refusing to show up. This could really happen, you guys.

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