Portland State University Student Walk-Out Planned for Wednesday, November 16

A former student of mine recently emailed me as part of her research process gathering information for a planned P.S.U. student walk-out planned for Wednesday, 11/16, at noontime in solidarity with the Occupy Portland movement.  Is the lack of affordable, equitable access to higher education on your radar?  How do you feel about walk-outs as forms of protest?

Check out their blog at www.http://defendeducationpdx.wordpress.com for more information.  And think about the ways that you take action to support the education issues that are important to you…what could you do more of?  What are the specific issues you can take on?  And do you need additional resources or ideas about how to make action possible?



5 thoughts on “Portland State University Student Walk-Out Planned for Wednesday, November 16

  1. Access to higher education has always been on my radar. Although I believe the State should provide assistance for citizens who desire a higher education, I don’t think the burden rests solely on the shoulders of government officials. Working for what you have is essential to what I call the American Opportunity. Blaming corporations and government for all of society’s problems is counterproductive. To me, walking out is giving up. I do believe in our right to petition and assemble in America, however, if there are no clear demands with a plan of action, is anything going to change? I personally would never want to show solidarity with the Occupy “movement.” In fact, I believe this protest is the most counter productive use of people’s time. There has always been a one percent in American history pulling the strings and manipulating the rest of the population. Is this a bag thing? That depends on if you enjoy the benefits of capitalism. Clearly the Occupy people like wearing clothes and staying dry with tents. I wonder where those products are made and who profits off of their sales?

  2. Instead of blaming an entity that we all support with consumerism, I suggest we educate the populace. How can we go wrong if we support education?
    If a company is corrupt and treats their workers poorly, then don’t buy from them, and share your experience with others. If a person feels that tuition is too high, organize, make a plan, don’t rally working-class students to give up on learning for an afternoon to sit and hear idealistic rhetoric about how it’s not our fault.
    Most importantly we need to VOTE.

    • Joe,

      The burden does not rest solely on the shoulders of government officials. The burden rests, most immediately, on the shoulders of PSU’s administration. We are not urging students to drop out of school. We are not urging students to give up. We are urging students and staff to stand together and fight back against rising tuition, cutbacks, low faculty pay, adjunct job insecurity, and the misappropriation of our school’s resources. A walk out is a symbol. We are saying that we are not happy with the way our school is allocating its resources. We are saying that we are tired of business as usual. It was a powerful moment on Wednesday to see so many students and staff and supporters gather in the Park Blocks and air their grievances. We are creating spaces for dialogue and discussion. We are actualizing our power as students and as teachers. We are organizing. We are making plans. And we are doing it collectively. We are not blaming corporations and government for all of society’s problems. We are demanding accountability and transparency. We are demanding an even playing field.

      Issues like access and affordability in higher education, equitable pay for faculty and staff, budget transparency, smaller class sizes, are not idealistic rhetoric. These are clear, concise and achievable demands. Higher education is becoming increasingly unaffordable. This dramatic increase in cost has not correlated with an increase in quality. We cannot sit back and watch this happen. We have to say enough is enough: we owe it to each other and we owe it all future students. We have the right to demand better because we deserve better.

      • What plan of action are you supporting? Give me a place to sign or cast my vote. I have yet to see anything that represents a clear plan of action against rising tuition costs. During the Spring term I remember a group was heading down to Salem to petition legislators, and I would have participated but I have to work and go to school and I don’t consider that a burden, but rather a privilege. What about the lives of these administrators? Do they not deserve a raise? I want to make a change just as much as the Occupiers, however, I know the history of social movements, and reality will set in soon for these protestors. The “playing field” can never be even in a capitalist economy. Like I said before, these are not new issues, and it appears that social movements haven’t changed either. Americans know that our system is faulty, but barley the majority of us vote to change it.

  3. Joe: I’ve invited a student or two from the student organization that planned the Walkout to respond and hope others will, too! So, check back soon for more here…this is an important question to be discussing.

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