Sunday, October 14, 2007

People's Conference 2: Resisting the Corporate U

Roundtable discussions on the possible future of the U as a more just and public institution and on how we can strategize and work together to realize that vision. Open to the participation of all.
Friday, Oct. 19th, 4:30-6:30pm, Rarig Center, Room 210 - For more info:

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Alternative to the Community Fund Drive

Greetings in solidarity,

The University of Minnesota is currently in the midst of its annual Community Fund Drive, a centralized campaign to raise funds from faculty and staff to donate to community charities (details are here: Employees arrived to their desks Monday of this week to find a mass voice mail message from President Bruininks encouraging participation.

Rank-and-file AFSCME union members are carrying out an Alternative to the Community Fund Drive campaign to encourage faculty and staff to give to their organization of choice directly, rather than give the University "credit" for the donation. Details on this campaign are available here:

Please consider sharing this information with faculty and staff you know to be in solidarity with U Workers.

Jess Crary
Living Wage Avenger and Member, AFSCME Local 3800
Executive Office and Administrative Specialist, Dance Program
Department of Theatre Arts and Dance

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Mission Statement

The following is a very rough sketch of a mission statement. Please, provide some feedback on this or suggest some alternate statements. The ideas and the wording are both completely open to change.

"Founded in the belief that the privatization of the University threatens both its intellectual caliber and its civic mission, that a University modeled on a “marketplace of ideas” inevitably rewards only those ideas that sell and serves only those customers who can afford them, [Organization X] exists to fight the corporatization of the University of Minnesota. By strengthening the campus community and by building ties to the surrounding community, it aims to ensure that the University upholds its traditional land-grant mission of serving the public."

Sunday, October 7, 2007

What should we name the campaign?

One important discussion that we need to have is about the name of the campaign. From my notes, here's what was suggested at the meeting: "movement for a democratic/real/public university", "keep/make U of M public," "campaign for...", something with "awareness," student council/government, something with "community," "university community awareness council", something with "citizens," "the gopher underground." Also, a couple pieces of advice were suggested: (we're talking about branding here) - and (encompassing not just students but a broader base). What does everybody think about these names? We're going to have a meeting to write up a mission statement soon, so maybe we'll come up with the name there - but any input before and after then will be helpful.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Saturday (10/6) Discussion

Lessons from the U of M Strike: Workers on the front lines against a corporate U of M

Come to a discussion with U of M strikers and supporters about lessons from the U of M strike and the need for the struggle to continue.

Speakers will include: union leaders and rank & file strikers, student and faculty strike supporters, and others.

Food will be served. Kids are welcome!


On September 5, U of M clerical, health care and technical workers in four unions went on strike all over the state. The strike began after the U administration refused to give workers the salary increase that other state workers received and that the legislature had budgeted for them to keep up with inflation. The strike was strong, and it sparked dynamic student and faculty movements on campus, including a student-led hunger strike and a civil disobedience protest at the Board of Regents meeting. After almost three weeks out, the strike ended on September 21. Strikers went back to work still angry at the U administration, but better organized and determined to carry forward the struggle for economic justice. Students and professors also continue to organize a fight back against the U administration's corporate agenda.

Saturday, October 6, 2007 5:30pm - 7:30pm

Brian Coyle Community Center (West Bank) 420 15th Avenue S., Minneapolis, MN

Contact Info Phone: 612.823.2841

Friday (10/5) Meeting



The AFSCME Strike is over. The University refused to consider strikers’ demands and ignored wide ranging support from students, staff, and faculty. The University has become undemocratic and has betrayed its mission of serving the public. The University has:

• raised tuition each year

• abandoned its low-income students

• cut the pay of its workers

• become a research wing of the military and big business

If you are concerned about the corporatization of your public University please join a meeting of concerned students, faculty, and staff to decide how we can resist this trend and demand a university we all can be proud of.

Friday (10/5) at Noon in Coffman Union

The "Board Room" (3rd floor on the NE corner of the building).

Letter to state representatives

With the coincidence of the AFSCME settlement and the U's asking for more state money, several of us devised the following letter to our state representatives. Our purpose is to ask the legislature to make fair contracts a chief stipulation when granting the University public money.

Please consider sending a version of this letter to your state representatives. You can determine your district at: I have bracketed and italicized the language you would need to specify, amend, or strike
(e.g. the second paragraph conveys a more personal (and grad student-oriented) message).

If anyone would like to adapt this language for another audience/purpose (say the dministration or the Regents), please feel free. (We already have sent a different version to the Daily, which is pending.)

Thank you for help, and I hope this is a productive opportunity for expressing our continued solidarity with the workers and our frustrationwith the administration.

Kevin Riordan


[Date] 2007

Dear [Representative]

The University Administration recently refused to provide its AFSCME employees with a fair contract. Now—just days after the settlement —the administration is asking for an additional $22 million from the State with which to build new facilities. While the improvement of
facilities is important, I believe a university’s excellence is determined neither by its material expansion nor its corporate-styled prestige, but by the contributions of its dedicated community
members. Therefore when state money is allotted to the University equitable contracts for all its workers must be a paramount stipulation. I urge you to support the University by supporting the people who work here.

[I am committed to the University of Minnesota but in the last month many of my colleagues and I have become disillusioned and alienated: as teachers we’ve been threatened about our jobs; as students we have been inconvenienced, with some of the University’s most essential employees going on an unsuccessful strike; and as community members our solidarity with our colleagues has been disregarded.]

The administration is neglecting the very people who make the University function, and their callous message makes it difficult for us to believe in—or want to contribute to—the greatness of this institution. If the University is asking for additional funding, the
welfare of its workers should be its top priority; at the very least, the AFSCME workers should receive the 3.25-3.5% in cost of living adjustments. And the State Legislature—many of whose members publicly supported AFSCME—should demand that the University be accountable to its mission as a state institution: to serve its students, its workers, and its taxpayers.

I appreciate your consideration and I thank you for your support of the University of Minnesota.


[name, title]