- 2 years ago
To tell you the truth about student loans and university financial aid.
- 2 years ago
So, you saw the flyers. What’s up? Well, the University of Michigan is changing for the worse—so much so you can see it in almost every part of the campus. We can see it just walking around, where the student body is more affluent and whiter than ever before (in 2000, 18.4% of Michigan students had a family income of $200k or more…in 2010, 27.6%). We can see it in the classrooms, where there are more and more GSIs and lecturers, who are paid only a fraction of what tenure-track professors make. We can see it in the salaries of the university administrators, which have risen a shocking 27% since 2006, while they have similarly raised our tuition (in the same time period) 22%. We hear their claims that there isn’t enough money, that there have to be cuts, that the state has defunded us, but we see the reality that the administrators always get paid, in full, without fail. We can see it in tuition, which has risen at Michigan a jaw-dropping 233% since 1990, pricing many poor and middle-income students out of the university. We can see it in the student loans we are now forced to take out: last year alone Michigan students took out an estimated $412 million (that’s right, for just one school year) in student loans—that’s almost half of what the university took in in tuition last year! And to add insult to injury, we can see it in the $2.3 billion the university administration has borrowed since 2007 to build new buildings, buildings we didn’t need, money we shouldn’t have borrowed, money that students, not the administrators who borrowed it, will eventually have to pay back, with interest in the form of more student loans.
We can all see that the University of Michigan has changed for the worse and that it isn’t getting better and that the administration has no ideas other than to raise tuition and to raise their own pay (…already the administration has announced that, despite state funding going up next year, there will still be a tuition hike!). Those of us involved in Occupy UM have been trying to figure out how things got like this and what we can do about it. In our struggle to figure out how things got so bad, we’ve come across some information that we found helpful. We want to ask you for 15 minutes of your time to share some of this information with you. In this piece, we will try to tell the story of how we got here. It is a story in two parts. The first part is about the Michigan Model and the rise of the for profit university, and the second is about the rise of student debt as a form of predatory lending (a term used to describe when banks use unfair or deceptive practices to get people into debt). By way of conclusion, we’ll make a few proposals for what we can do about it.
Feminist Ryan Gosling and the Visual Scream stems from our increasing frustration with the politicizing and disciplining of women and their bodies especially as a device to curry political favor and to distract from other issues.
In the past several weeks, it has become increasingly apparent that:
Politicians feel free to demonize women for having sex and justified in promoting paternalistic policies to deny them healthcare. Birth control and abortion are basic healthcare and they don’t necessitate explanations or apologies. Women are prevented from influencing these kinds of legislation and participating in the public sphere. They are publicly sex shamed for having opinions about their own bodies.
Domestic abuse is framed as a minor and excusable offense that not only can be pardoned, but later sexualized and profited from in pop culture.
Women are being raped and sexually abused in an effectively institutionally sanctioned manner and then publicly shamed not only for coming forward, but for being victims.
Single mothers are constantly harassed by policy makers and routinely subjected to humiliating public scrutiny while being stripped of the resources and social support that they need. These attacks are often race and class based.
Gender is used to deny same sex couples the opportunity to enjoy the social protections that their heterosexual counterparts enjoy and that no one, regardless of their partner’s gender (or lack of a partner for that matter), should be denied.
These things are not okay and we are tired of defending and explaining what should be assumed as basic rights.
We are also tired of how these issues, which should already be settled, are being used to deflect attention from social and economic injustices that run rampant in our culture and demand real solutions now.
This project is our attempt to confront the absurdity of our present situation.