Students with different political and social views, belonging to different organizations or no organization at all, must unite around a common charter of struggle. For those who wish to successfully fight these attacks, to meet and to work out such a charter is the task at hand.
As we begin to return to campus, many friends, colleagues, and the other usual faces at school are not among us. This is the case at universities throughout the city, ranging from the largest to smallest institutions. This is the case not only because of the health and economic crises, but because of the mass layoffs pushed through in 2020 by top school administrators over the pleas of faculty, staff, and students.
Thus, the new school year does not start off with a clean slate. We haven’t forgotten that CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez and the CUNY college presidents laid off almost 3,000 employees during the pandemic, mostly adjuncts and part-time staff. We also haven’t forgotten that the New School Board of Trustees Chair Linda E. Rappaport and President Dwight A. McBride, after only six months on the job, dropped the axe on 122 employees.
Op-ed articles, petitions, protests, virtual townhalls, a lawsuit by the faculty union (in the case of CUNY), and the involvement of elected officials (such as the city comptroller, in the case of TNS) did nothing to sway those at the helm of each institution.
The impact of the layoffs on students? Issues with registration, courses, advisement, etc.
Students at Juilliard protesting a $1,970 tuition hike in June had their building access revoked and were subjected to disciplinary investigations.
The demands of the Columbia tuition strike, including a 10 percent tuition reduction, were ignored by the university. The strike began in January and ended in April— but was not even directly acknowledged by the administration.
Towards a United and Expanded Struggle!
In NY, which is essentially a one-party city, where layoffs and cuts are carried out by Democrats, student protests in this period have generated broad sympathy, but no results.
The lesson is clear: united struggle involving large and greater numbers is needed to successfully defend the basic interests of students. Students with different political and social views, belonging to different organizations or no organization at all, must unite around a common charter of struggle. For those who wish to successfully fight these attacks, to meet and to work out such a charter is the task at hand. This will allow us to unite the broadest possible section of students around a common set of demands, directed against a common enemy.
Join the May Day Student Organization or attend one of our meetings to learn more about our plans for organizing this semester.