What is a strike?



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Straub said, “It’s not at all the intent of administrators to raise costs and put pressure on students,” and “the real policy that’s going to affect a change in student tuition is at a state level.”

Straub also suggested that students must remember the University “operates like a business.”

Straub’s comments demonstrate not only a misunderstanding of the intent of the campus-wide strike, but an unquestioning acceptance of the administration’s self-serving policies.

No one involved in the strike effort believes that two short days of protest will result in a complete reformation of IU.

The strike is merely the next battle in the long-running struggle of workers and students against the administration.

We also recognize that our struggle does not stop with the Board of Trustees but extends to the statehouse.

There is no end in sight to this struggle, precisely because there is no end in sight to the policies that have unfairly targeted students and workers with tuition hikes and wage freezes.

A strike is a disruption and a show of force, a moment when individuals who are all suffering recognize their common grievances.

Together, they find strength in fighting for their demands.

The average IU student is more than $27,000 in debt upon graduation.

At the same time, our administration continues to raise tuition and expenses.

Just last week the Board of Trustees approved a 3.48 percent increase in dorm rates.

Workers on campus are facing a continuing wage freeze, forcing them to continuing working long hours for minimal compensation.

The administration and its supporters might suggest that tuition hikes and the wage freeze are necessary evils, but they are doing no belt-tightening of their own.

In 2011, President Michael McRobbie’s salary rose to more than half a million dollars.

There has been no wage freeze for administrators, only for rank and file
workers.

If the IU administration actually cared about its students and workers, it could easily meet many of our demands without the approval of the statehouse.

Slashing the salaries of the administration and halting the construction of expensive university apartments would be small steps toward lowering tuition and unfreezing employee wages.

It would take no extra money for the administration to finally meet its promise to increase African-American enrollment to 8 percent.

Straub is correct on one point: our University is run like a business.

The owners of this business, the administration, continue to profit off of the debt-ridden students and the labor of the workers and faculty.

But while Straub seems content to accept the corporate model of the University, we reject it.

The University is a place of learning, not of profit. It belongs to the students and the workers, not the administrators.

A strike is, above all, a movement to take back what is ours.

­— atcrane@indiana.edu

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