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Univ. of Washington students, staff protest ‘corporatization’

UW-corporatizationSEATTLE (June 19, 2015) — Waving signs that read “Quality Education, Not Corporatization,” students, faculty and staff at the University of Washington delivered more than 3,000 petition signatures to the UW Board of Regents on Wednesday protesting the rising corporatization of the state’s flagship university. They also plan to deliver the petitions to Gov. Jay Inslee in Olympia on Tuesday, June 23.

Among the concerns raised here:

► A $4,000 increase in student tuition between 2009-2012

► Half of UW students graduate with student debt.

► 70% of faculty are either non-tenure-track or have to raise the funds to cover their own salaries.

► Thousands of faculty and staff earn less than market rate, and in some cases less than $15.

► The same corporations that oppose new revenue for education in Olympia sit on the UW Board of Regents, including Microsoft, Boeing, Starbucks and Alaska Airlines.

With the future our state’s higher public education at stake, the students, faculty and staff said they want meaningful input into selecting the new UW President and filling UW Regent vacancies.

“The University of Washington is a huge public good for Washington state residents,” said Informatics student Becky Fuller-Phillips, Class of 2018. “We will not allow it to be privatized, corporatized and accessible only to the privileged few.”

“With a new president coming in and several Regent vacancies in 2015 and 2016, we have a tremendous opportunity to chart a new course for our university,” says Rob Wood, President of the UW Chapter of the American Association of University Professors. “We need leadership that will rally the UW community in defense of our proud history as a public university, not move us further down the road toward privatization.”

”We all tightened our belts during the Great Recession to help the UW cope with budget cuts,” says Laura Harrington, Program Coordinator, Air Force ROTC and SEIU Local 925 UW Chapter President. “Now we expect the university to stand by us. As the largest employer in Seattle, the UW should lead the way by paying everyone a living wage.”

The petition is supported by a broad coalition of campus unions and student and faculty groups, including: SEIU Local 925, SEIU HealthCare 1199NW, UAW 4121, WFSE Local 1488, Seattle Building Trades, UW Chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), UW Faculty Forward, Reclaim UW and United Students Against Sweatshops.

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