Just what is the Occupy Wall Street thing all about? I found it hard to explain to my kids at the dinner table the other night. It’s about people being angry at the system, I said. The financial system. Big corporations.
Now, I can expand that to include frustration with and from higher education.
The Collective Bargaining Congress and national Council of the American Association of University Professors have issued a statement expressing solidarity for the Occupy Wall Street protesters. The group criticizes the growing gap between the rich and poor, rising tuition, and job uncertainty.
“The dedicated students whom we teach at institutions of higher education are being forced to pay more for tuition and go deeper into debt because of cuts in state funding, only to find themselves unemployed when they graduate,” the statement says.
Regarding its own workforce, the AAUP said: “The majority of college and university faculty positions are now insecure, part-time jobs. In addition, attacks on collective bargaining have been rampant throughout the nation, as our job security, wages, health benefits, and pensions have been either reduced or slated for elimination.”
As the Occupy Wall Street movement expands, it will be interesting to see how other higher education professional groups weigh in. Perhaps it will be the voices of college students that will be the next to join the fray as frustration mounts over college costs, deepening debt, and high unemployment among young people.
A version of this news article first appeared in the College Bound blog.