Students, staff blast ‘corporatization’ of university


Students and staff rallied Thursday to condemn the growing “corporatization” of the University of Minnesota and join in a National Day of Action to Defend Public Education. “We want education – not corporations!” and “Fund education – not administration!” participants chanted. 

rally to defend public education
AFSCME Local 3800 Vice President Mary Lou Middleton addressed the rally on the steps of Morrill Hall, the university’s main administration building.

Several speakers condemned the skyrocketing cost of college tuition and the university’s increasing focus on garnering research dollars – rather than educating students.

“It’s not your learning potential – it’s your earning potential that matters here,” said Professor Eva von Dassow, a member of Faculty for the Renewal of Public Education. She and other speakers issued a call to “reclaim the university for the public.”

The rally was part of actions held at scores of campuses across the country. Learn more

“During the last decade, tuition at the university has more than doubled,” said Phyllis Walker, president of AFSCME Local 3800, which represents clerical workers at the university. “We are also seeing hundreds of front-line staff – the lowest-paid workers at the U – being laid off to balance the budget . . . Students lose again because there are fewer staff to help navigate the complicated system that is the University of Minnesota.”

Student Courtney Bell said skyrocketing tuition is taking a toll on students.

“Along with these tuition increases, they are making it harder for students such as myself to come to the University of Minnesota and succeed . . .” she said.