Strike on IU campus planned for April 2013
By Matt Bloom| IDS
Fifty people sat in a large circle, with at least 20 scattered behind them on couches and chairs in the Indiana Memorial Union’s East Lounge. Attendees discussed problems facing the University community, including rising tuition and student debt.
The also gathered to organize, plan and prepare for an upcoming strike in April protesting IU administration operation of campus.
The assembly consisted of undergraduate students, faculty and staff members, and anyone else from the community who felt they had something worth offering to the strike’s organization. The group had no leader and only two moderators.
The strike is set to take place on April 11-12, 2013, to coincide with the days of the next IU Board of Trustees meeting.
Organizers of the movement developed a blog, iuonstrike.tumblr.com, where a published strike proposal is available for anyone to read or add to. The strike proposal on the blog highlights statistics detailing the sources of IU’s budget.
“As of this year, students pay for 51% of IU’s budget,” read the post. “Only 18% percent of the current year’s budget funding comes from the state of Indiana, as compared to 50% in the early 1990s.”
The mass assembly then sectioned off to give individuals a chance to voice their personal concerns with the University. A small group of eight gathered near one of the lounge’s corners.
Last names of some attendees were requested to remain confidential.
Chelsea, an IU student and RPS employee spoke about the University’s unfair treatment of employees injured at work. Peter, who recently dropped out of school, proposed that the strike target specific academic departments.
Samantha Harrell, one of the discussion’s moderators, is a senior studying social work.
“Because we’re relying more and more on the private sector to fund our education, it gives IU an incentive to meet the demands of those private corporations,” Harrell said. “So we have departments with agendas that aren’t necessarily representing what’s best for people. I want to get down to the basic principle of a public university.”
In the upcoming five months, there will be more meetings intended to solidify a plan for the strike. The groups insisted throughout the discussion that public awareness needs to extend beyond sidewalk chalk messages and fliers. The assembly established that it needs a final goal, something to which IU administration will pay attention.
After spending over two hours deliberating the question, “Why don’t we have a voice in the University that is equal to our contribution?” the group disbanded.
“We understand the serious limitations and risks involved,” organizers concurred in their strike proposal, “but we are open to dialogue to develop methods that advance the interests of students, faculty and workers together.”