[Update] 1T DAY CUNY recap: Rev Billy exorcises student loan debt Brooklyn College, students discuss refusal to pay
[Update 4/26/2012 @ 2:55pm] Press mentions:
Chicago Tribune http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/sns-rt-us-usa-colleges-debtbre83o1jl-20120425,0,3865486.storyNY1 http://manhattan.ny1.com/content/top_stories/160087/occupy-protesters-turn-focus-to-mounting-u-s–student-debt
Today was 1T Day, a national day of action marking the point at which student debt is estimated to surpass $1 trillion, more than auto loans or credit card debt.
The Brooklyn College Student Union, in solidarity with Occupy Student Debt Campaign and New York Students Rising, held an all-day event in the quad to bring to light the student struggle with debt. “It’s not just an issue for students but for working families who often take on debt to return to school in the hopes of finding higher paying jobs to support their families as the cost of living, especially in New York City, increases. If we want to help working families in a concrete way we need higher education to be free and for student debt to be forgiven,” said Biola Jeje, a junior at Brooklyn College.
As part of the day’s events, Reverend Billy exorcised student debt and debtors burned their statements on the quad.
Also in observance of 1T Day, Malav Kanuga, a doctoral student in anthropology, and Ann Larson, a graduate of the PhD program in English, wrote an article in Edu-Factory exploring the politics of debt the Occupy Student Debt Campaign:
. . .
College administrators at public institutions explain tuition increases by asserting that budget cuts have given them no choice. But that is not the whole story. In fact, college administrators, in many cases, want to raise tuition. US colleges are run like financial firms: Administrators use student tuition dollars as collateral to improve their institution’s bond rating in capital markets. A top priority at many colleges is to pledge students’ tuition to Wall Street to fund construction projects that enrich the one percent. This is also why it makes little sense to insist on a distinction between public and private institutions. Whether public or private, all colleges where students pay tuition are debt-financed. Those of us who can’t pay back our loans (an increasingly likely prospect for many) are cogs in the machinery of capital accumulation, as our colleges become sites for generating profit for billionaires.
. . .
In the context of a rigged system wherein student debts underwrite a form of indenture, refusal is the only adequate response. Refusal acknowledges the larger economic and political context in which education debts are incurred while also bypassing the conventional ideologies that have failed us so far. To refuse student debt is to reappropriate education as our commonwealth, not a source of profit. Refusal also allows debtors to act in their own interest rather than ask for assistance as supplicants. Finally, refusal to participate in an unjust system provides moral clarity and the framework for reimagining what the university might become once it is no longer a site for the accumulation of capital.
. . .
The full article is available at http://www.edu-factory.org/wp/april-25th-is-%E2%80%9C1t-day%E2%80%9D-occupy-student-debt