GSPHE on Organizational Hiatus; Supports Occupy GSU

Georgia Students for Public Higher Education formed in 2009 to address the rising costs of public higher education in Georgia. Since 2009, the organization has changed drastically. As the economic crisis progressed, so changed the political landscape of our state. Our fight against tuition and fee hikes in the university system necessarily grew to include the fights against cuts to the HOPE scholarship, anti-immigrant legislation, the execution of Troy Davis. Recently, GSPHE lent its verve to the international, ongoing occupation of public spaces, as many of its members participated in the occupation of Troy Davis Park (previously Woodruff Park) in Atlanta.
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Georgia Students for Public Higher Education must address the issues that are most pertinent to students and Georgians alike; and thus, the constant threat of further privatization and corporatization of our schools and our state — rule by the 1%, rather than by the 99 — demands our utmost attention. GSPHE has therefore placed its organizational structure on hiatus to promote the development of Georgia State’s very own occupation, which, we believe, has taken up the issues most pertinent to Georgia students.
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Occupy Georgia State began in reaction to Georgia’s ongoing educational crises, fueled so clearly by corporate greed. As do Occupy Wall Street and other occupations, Occupy Georgia State exists as a general people’s assembly, promoting the direct participation and control by students and educators in the functioning of their university. The university belongs to those who use it!
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The democratic participation of students and educators in their university is exactly what GSPHE stands for; and the general assembly at Georgia State is a plausible model of exactly that: a way to involve students, faculty, workers, and allies in the administering of their school, and a way to involve them en masse. The general assembly of Occupy Georgia State is therefore one means available to those who would resist their subjugation at the hands of a corrupt Board of Regents and apathetic administration–both who serve corporate interests over the interests of students, educators, and workers.
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GSPHE continues to resist any attack on education in Georgia, whether those attacks are tuition increases, scholarship cuts, anti-immigrant policies, or one-sided “austerity” measures that remind us how some animals are more equal than others. And the shape of GSPHE’s resistance is presently the Occupy Georgia State General Assembly. GSPHE will maintain its information: we will continue updating the WordPress and making announcements through email and Twitter – but the active resistance of GSPHE is currently bound to the Occupy Georgia State General Assembly.
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Because GSPHE hopes to remain a statewide network, please feel free to contact us about setting up occupations or student groups attuned to the needs of your own schools and communities.
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We encourage everyone to visit the Occupy Georgia State website, Facebook page, and Twitter.
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Please follow these social media to stay informed. The attack on education is an attack on the potential of a generation, and the fight for our generation is merely begun.
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In Solidarity,

GSPHE

NEWS: GSU Students to Hold General Assembly, January 26th, 5 PM

ImageGeorgia State students are organizing a General Assembly in the Georgia State courtyard on Tuesday, January 26th, at 5:00 PM. This General Assembly is modeled after the democratic form that has swept Wall Street, Oakland, and all corners of the globe, building mass participation from below. This General Assembly will be used as an organizing space for the student body and the Georgia State community at large to discuss further plans of action. We hope to see many, many people at this upcoming General Assembly. Take our school back from the 1%. 

NEWS: Board of Regents want to “Consolidate” campuses

Long-known for expanding campuses, the University System of Georgia changed course Thursday by recommending eight colleges merge into four. It’s part of a sweeping plan to cut administrative costs and funnel more money toward students and academic programs.

Mergers have the potential to save taxpayers millions, although Chancellor Hank Huckaby said it’s too soon to predict how large the savings will be. Should the state Board of Regents approve the plan as expected, the consolidations will affect more than 36,000 students at the eight colleges.

Some local leaders impacted by the plan supported it, saying it will provide a greater range of academic programs and make their communities more attractive to business. But mergers are not popular with everyone. Some worried about layoffs and feared working adults will have to travel greater distances to take certain courses.

Hatfield, who serves on the House Higher Education Committee, worried how layoffs would affect the local economy. He wondered how students, many of whom work full-time and support families, would be able to drive about an hour to attend classes at South Georgia College if a course is not taught in Waycross.

He and other local leaders are trying to rally community members to urge the regents to postpone next week’s vote.

Read the rest of the article here.

What happens when GA schools are consolidated? — administrative, faculty, and staff layoffs – students don’t know of the proposal and how it will impact them – if a course is not taught in Waycross, students are expected to drive an hour to attend a class in South Georgia College – many of these students have families and are full-time workers – local community members want to prevent next week’s vote from happening – all of this is in the names of CUTTING COSTS.

The Board of Regents will be meeting:
Tuesday, January 10, 1:00 PM
270 Washington St. SW
Atlanta, GA 30334

 

NEWS: Bill to Bar Immigrant Students

ATLANTA  —  Some Georgia lawmakers want to toughen the state’s stance on illegal immigrants in public colleges and universities. A bill before the state legislature would widen a ban approved last year.

The Board of Regents already has barred illegal immigrants from certain in-demand schools.

A new proposal would extend that ban to all of Georgia’s 35 public colleges and universities, and its 26 technical colleges.

Rep. Brett Harrell is a co-sponsor of the bill, along with Rep. Tom Rice. He says taxpayers may be footing the bill for illegal immigrants’ education because tuition doesn’t cover all costs.

Critics say the bill penalizes young people whose parents illegally brought them here as children.

Lawmakers will consider the bill during the legislative session that starts in January. Last session, they passed a law that bans companies from hiring illegal immigrants.

Read the rest of the article here.

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Countless Georgia organizations, from GUYA to GSPHE, ACLU to Freedom University, have confronted the Board of Regents and university officials repeatedly demanding the repeal of USG policy 4.1.6, and a review of the reasons behind imposing a drastic measure on our schools. If this legislation passes, it proves that the Board of Regents and the Georgia legislature are not interested in the facts, participating in reasonable dialogue, or improving education in Georgia.

This aggressive action taken by lawmakers and the Regents only further agitates and emboldens us.  We need to reclaim our education and our universities for all. We must stop the Board of Regents unbridled assault on immigrants, students, workers, faculty, and higher education in the state of Georgia.

WHOSE SCHOOLS?
OUR SCHOOLS! 

The GA Regents meetings for Spring 2012 are here.

Ban the Board!

On November 8th, 2011, GSPHE teamed up with our comrades in Georgia Undocumented Youth Alliance (GUYA) to take on the Board of Regents and their racist policy 4.1.6. GSPHE held a rally and speak out in the courtyard of Georgia State University and proceeded to march to the Regents meeting to meet GUYA. Plans to hold a press conference were halted when the police denied our right to free speech and assembly under a false pretense that we were blocking the sidewalk (seen here).

A member of GSPHE at UGA, Juan, alongside Keish, a member of GUYA, spoke out against the ban (seen here and here respectively). They were the first outside voice to speak about the ban, ever. The ACLU’s request to speak on the issue last year was denied. But hey, the Board of Regents ‘represent’ us, right?

After the meeting concluded, GSPHE called a “mic check”, starting a People’s Assembly, the transcript of which is below.

The Regents quickly exited the meeting room as we continued our People’s Assembly. Some students sat in the Regents’ seats, others blocked the main door of the room with a banner saying “REFUSE THE BAN” to prevent the Regents members from leaving.

We then proceeded to follow the Board of Regents down the hall and we continued to chant and yell “WHEN EDUCATION IS UNDER ATTACK, WHAT DO WE DO? STAND UP FIGHT BACK!”  The police then blocked us from walking further down the hallway.

At this time, the press arrived and pretended to act as if this is a neutral issue, with both sides being respectable. For the rest of us who actually understand race relations, we know there are two sides here – each on the respective side of history. One side chooses to scapegoat immigrants for a crisis they didn’t create and the other side stands in solidarity with them. The press asked Regents member Jennings “Do you have any thoughts on the presentation?” to which he responded, “not really.”

When we walked to the Capitol we held a short de-brief meeting to discuss what happened. Only 5 minutes after we all gathered and began our meeting, a Capitol Police Officer approached us and asked us to move from our meeting space even though we were on public property. Once again the Police denied our right to free speech and free assembly, showing no restraint in defending a racist system that we live in.

This fight is not over. With every strike they make against the people, we organize, grow and resist. Georgia Students, stand up!

(begin transcript)

MIC CHECK! Attention concerned peoples and community members of the University System of Georgia! We, the students, call for a PEOPLE’S ASSEMBLY for an immediate discussion of the assault on higher education! USG policy 4.1.6 is a blatant attack on immigrant youth in Georgia – immigrant youth who have been denied any place in our society, and are denied any opportunity of a decent future!  We demand an immediate lifting of the ban!

EDUCATION NOT DEPORTATION!

EDUCATION NOT DEPORTATION!

The Board of Regents continue to increase our fees and raise tuition – tuition has increased 49% and fees have increased 87% since 2007 – at the same time university presidents and the Chancellor continue to make six figure salaries on the backs of WORKING CLASS STUDENTS!!

The Board of Regents is composed of corporate CEOS, bankers, and politicians – hardly any of the board members have experience in education! We demand democratic decision-making power by the students. Faculty, and workers!

WHOSE SCHOOLS?

OUR SCHOOLS!

{end transcript}