Below is an *UPDATED* petition that SDS has initiated and is circulating as a means to put it to vote on the U of M’s All Campus Elections – what this would mean is that students would have the opportunity to vote on being able to take control of our University in terms of forcing administration to cut their own salaries before raising our tuition and being able to put any tuition or fee hikes to a vote in APRIL
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or join our facebook group (link below) to stay up to date on the freshest in-the-know on the All Campus Elections.
1. I agree that there should be no tuition increases and no fee increases without student consent. I agree that any tuition and student fees increases require a vote of the student body requiring a majority (50%) of the student body to vote, and of that majority, that any increases be passed by a margin of 70% or more in favor.
2. I agree that any administrators making over $200,000 take a 5% pay cut, those making over $300,000 take a 10% pay cut and those making over $400,000 take a 15% pay cut.
3. I agree that there must be a 10% cutback in the number of administrators at the university in 2012. In addition I agree that all future cutbacks must be equally applied to administration as to all staff and faculty of the university.
By signing below I agree that these three points should each be individually brought to a referendum in the all campus elections of April of 2012 at the University of Minnesota.
Students at the University of Minnesota are disturbed by the continuing shift of our educational institution away from the land grant institution and instead to one that more and more serves a specific elite, corporate interest. This problem has become even more exposed as the country sinks deeper into an economic recession. As banks are bailed out our tuition dollars are going up. As staff that
directly affect our educational opportunities are laid off our organizations are shortchanged. As Bruininks enjoys his free home courtesy of the University of Minnesota students are forced to work more to afford housing and textbooks.
What do We Want??
1) Chop from the Top!
We want the university administrators and other highly paid executives at our university to take a cut to their six-figure annual compensations before making more cuts to faculty and staff. Currently, President Bruininks receives a $455,000 salary, but with bonuses and benefits, he makes an annual compensation package upwards of $750,000 per year. President Bruininks is within the top ten highest paid public university presidents, and all Bruininks has done is taken a pay freeze. Workers at our university have fought for pay raises and all they have received is a mere 2.5%. When compared to the rate of inflation, staff have actually taken a pay cut. This is an insult!
2) Transparency Now!
The president has prompted hundreds of layoffs to workers and in the 09-10 school year, 1200 more jobs will be eliminated. Likewise, Bruininks has ordered a budget reduction of over 2% across all departments regardless of already felt funding constraints following the previous 5-8% reduction. We demand to know what is being cut from these departments, who is making up for the services these jobs provide students with, where this extra revenue is going, and who is making these decisions. In addition, despite annual tuition increases, students are provided little information as to how our tuition dollars are used. We demand to know precisely how our tuition dollars are being used, including all investments made by the university. We demand that all university budgetary and policy decisions be accessible to the university community as well as the public at large.
Currently, university budget and policy decisions are made almost entirely without student input. The student representatives to the Board of Regents have no voting rights. The student Regent is no longer a student. We have the right to a voice in the decisions being made at the university that directly affect us. We demand that students have democratically elected peer representatives with voting rights on policy and budget decisions.
3) Education first!
For the first time in history, the university is receiving more funding from tuition than they are from the state. Student tuition has doubled in the last decade, and it is only becoming worse. The university wants to become a top-three research university, but is leaving its students with an unforgivable amount of debt in the context of an economic recession. The University of Minnesota has become less accessible to the poor and working class students of Minnesota, and has fallen from its foundation as a land grant institution. We demand a freeze to tuition and fees and increased money for need-based scholarships. Our urban school must reflect the needs of the urban community.
Contingent to tuition rising, and staff being laid off, faculty, graduate students, and undergrads are having to deal with larger class sizes. Not only does this create overwhelming work for professors and TA’s, it also is not keeping the interests of students in mind. Smaller classes are good for the university community as a whole!
4) Democratic University!
We demand free and open channels of discussion and debate on campus. The university community should have direct ownership over how the University of Minnesota is governed. In the last three decades the university has fomented ties with corporate interests. We have seen our university move toward a business model that is capital-driven rather than community driven. Students, staff, and faculty have had little to no say in these changes, however we demand a university that operates democratically giving the university community as a whole a participatory role. Likewise, students, staff, and faculty alike should have the right to organize unions and other associations at the university without threat or punishment by the university. The university and its administrators should not influence or otherwise interfere with collaboration, organization, or the exchange of information between students, staff, and faculty on issues affecting the university community.