Join the North Carolina Student Power Union and Ignite NC for a weekend in Raleigh as we come together to fight to intensify the student voice in North Carolina. This conference will discuss issues such as Student Debt Crisis, New Voter ID Laws, School to Prison Pipeline
They tell us it’s a crisis, but it’s not. It’s a crime that the Governor’s budget cuts taxes on the rich and raises taxes on the working poor while inflicting major damage on the University of North Carolina system, considered one of our state’s greatest assets. It’s a crime that because of academic austerity in our state - increasing tuition while slashing financial aid - the “UNC-Chapel Hill Office of Scholarship and Student Aid estimates the proposal could cause the average student’s debt to double - from $17,000 in loans to $33,000 - within three to four years.” It’s a crime that the Board of Governors is an unelected body, with no forum at meetings or voting representation to express the concerns of students, professors, faculty, families, and working people. And still they call us apathetic.
It’s a crime that the skyrocketing cost of higher education is making attending a public university in North Carolina inaccessible to many low-income youth today, a scheme that only furthers the school-to-prison pipeline that values profit over livelihood and freedom. It’s a crime that our state’s policy of out-of-state tuition for undocumented North Carolinians furthers xenophobia on our campuses, and takes advantage of students who have lived most of their lives in North Carolina.
It’s a crime that UNC Greensboro plans to spend $91 Million - all from student fees - to build a second recreation center on campus, while cutting over 390 course sections in the coming academic year. It’s a crime that the state budget, year after year, targets our state’s proud and acclaimed Historically Black Colleges and Universities for being “unprofitable,” such as their attempt to close Elizabeth City State University this past spring.
It’s a crime that our tuition money pays for higher salaries for more administrators, but lower salaries for professors, adjuncts, and campus faculty, many of whom don’t make a living wage.It’s a crime that they’ll send us out into a job market that doesn’t pay a living wage of $15 per hour, and expect us to still be able to pay off our student loans.
It’s a crime that the remainder of our tuition money is turned around and invested in the inhumane occupation of Palestine, in companies that rely on brutal working conditions and sweatshop labor, and oil and coal corporations whose profit-margins actively contradict our futures.
We’re not alone in our story. These crimes against a generation are international. But internationally, students have been at the forefront of fighting back. From Santiago to Tunis to Montreal, and across the United States, students have dedicated themselves to getting organized to create a better future. This is our task now. Where there is collective crime against the youth, there must be collective organization by and for the youth.
It’s time for us to take back our schools, as students and workers, to make sure universities are accessible to all, that student debt ceases to burden our generation, that undocumented youth can rise with us, that our commitment to HBCUs remains protected, that the school-to-prison pipeline is abolished, and that our tuition doesnâ€™t reinforce global capitalism that hurts us all. Join Ignite NC, the NC Student Power Union, and students, faculty, and young people from across the state from Friday, September 12 to Saturday, September 13 in Raleigh so that we - together - can get organized and change our state. When we fight, we win!