Monday, April 14, 2014

The conversion of private colleges into corporations

GUEST: Alex Deane, student at Vassar College, talks about her organization, the Vassar Student/Labor Dialogue, and why an adjunct teachers’ union is needed in area colleges to raise poverty level wages.

Adjunct salaries are part of the conversion of private colleges into corporations. The adjuncts are the sweatshop workers that bring in huge corporate profits. Massive student loans are the fraud going on at the other end. Students are told that college results in better full time jobs, and they load up on debt because their parents can't pay college expenses. Once graduated, students can't find jobs and default on their loans, which are then backed up by the federal government.

In the midst of this drive for profit, the administrators pay themselves handsomely. The President of Marist made over 3 million in salary and bonuses last year. The whole enterprise is called a college, but is really run for the benefit of the very few at the top. Welcome to the Twenty First Century's Gilded Age.

Of course, there is fightback. The adjuncts at Marist College are forming a union, and there is broad community support as well. That is where Alex and the Student Labor Dialogue comes in. Students all over the country are coming to understand the corporatization of higher education, as well as their part in it. Each student in a class taught by a Marist adjunct pays $75 to the teacher. Full time tuition is over $15,000, meaning that each three credit class costs $1,500. Sort of like Nike in that the sweatshop worker somewhere making each sneaker earns one percent of what the company eventually charges customers.

Lead the way, Alex and the Student/Labor Dialogue.

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