In Granny D’s Footsteps
UnKoch My Campus / Student Debt Crisis Project
Rhana Bazinni, at the age of 82, walked from Sarasota to Tallahassee in an effort to educate the public and elected officials about the need for a Constitutional Amendment to take control of the nation away from multi-national corporations. A number of national activist groups advocating for a constitutional amendment supported her journey.
Rae Claire Johnson of Pinellas County Move to Amend accompanied Rhana on her walk to Tallahassee, which was inspired by an earlier walk in the 1990s by Doris Haddock, affectionately known as “Granny D.” Granny D waked from Los Angeles to Washington D. C. to promote campaign reform at the age of 90. Her efforts culminated in the Feingold McCain Bill. The Supreme Courts Citizen United decision negated the bill.
In Tallahassee Rhana and Rae Claire met Lakey Love, a graduate assistant at Florida State University who shared how the Koch brothers, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and big business interests were taking over public campuses nationwide. They realized this movement was part of a larger strategy, developed by Lewis Powell (August 23,1971 Powell Memorandum) for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce shortly before becoming a Supreme Court judge. A trip to Florida’s 12 state universities is being planned to address the memorandum and how it is being executed.
The corporatization of the university means much higher tuition rates, a shift in conceptualizing education from being a public resource to being an opportunity for private gain, decreasing commitment of public resources to education, massive student debt, a shift from full-time to part time “adjunct” professors, and increasing corporate dictation of university curriculum and priorities. The activist community is occupied fighting specific issues and seemingly unaware of the attack on university independence and critical thinking. Today’s students are the key to stopping the corporate agenda.
The plan is to hold rallies on Florida universities where the focus will be on the “student debt crisis” and the “lack of full-time professors”. The link between these issues and the efforts by corporate interests to control campus will be discussed. Student debt and the lack of full-time professors are excellent examples that students will immediate relate to. Campuses that don’t have an UnKoch My Campus chapter will be encouraged to start one.
These are the basics of the discussion, which will fine tuned by soliciting input from students, faculty and potential community partners. Putting the rally together requires support on each of the campuses. Ideally this support would come from students and faculty alike. Students are best position to secure a meeting place and together with faculty to promote the event.
This is a request for assistance. If you know of a student activist(s) or organizations and/or faculty member(s) and/or organizations that may be willing to assist please contact: Rae Claire Johnson, (727) 421-8460. Our goal is to hold an event at FSU the week of February 2, 2016 and to visit the other campus before spring break.
Note: The intention is to invite the students, faculty and staff from nearby colleges to attend the university rally.