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Archive for the ‘access to education’ Category

This 10 point program was put out by Hostos Students for Open Admissions and the Hostos Student Government in Spring 1998. Contact information is at the end of the document.

An Open Admissions Program For a Democratic City University

We demand:

1. Defend and Extend Open Admissions

Open Admissions has guaranteed that every New Yorker with a high school diploma or G.E.D. can attend a college in the City University. A victory of the Civil Rights Movement, Open Admissions meant working people, the poor, people of color, and immigrants whose segregated, inferior public education may have failed to adequately prepare them for college-level work would not be denied the chance for a decent education a second time by being denied access to college.

Since Open Admissions was won in 1970, more than 450,000 students have earned their degrees from CUNY. Since 1970, more people of color have graduated from CUNY than have graduated from any other institution in the history of this country. Open Admissions has been one of the most significant democratic educational achievements in this country since Reconstruction.

2. Stop the Plans to Stratify CUNY by Race and Class

Because the city_s public school system reflects and reinforces racial and class inequalities, any plan to establish a few elite colleges with descending tiers to a non-college immersion basement is inherently racist. Community colleges should not be used as a remedial dumping grounds. Open the senior colleges to students who are prepared for college work, but may need some remedial work. No non-college “institutes.” CUNY must be a public university responsive to the communities it was created to serve. (more…)

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What is SLAM!?

SLAM is the Student Liberation Action Movement. We are based at the City University of New York (CUNY) and other schools in New York.  SLAM! is a student-based group that has mainly organized against budget cuts and for open admissions at CUNY.  Our main campaign for Spring 1998 is to defend and expand open admissions and access to education. SLAM! has also organized around welfare, police brutality, housing, political prisoners, imperialism, and just about any other injustice you can name.  There are SLAM! chapters at some schools, and there are groups with other names, as well as individuals, who are affiliated with SLAM!  We want to be part of rebuilding a student movement that is independent of politicians and political parties; that is democratic; that is organized; that is  campus-based, and that is radical.  SLAM! is all that and much more.  Get in touch for more info or to get involved…

CCNY Student Liberation Action Movement (SLAM)
City College
138th St. & Convent Ave
New York, NY 10031
212-650-8179

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Current Events and Activism at CUNY

The following activities are not sponsored by SLAM! unless it explicitly says so. This calendar will include any events we are aware of, sponsored by many different organizations that are active at CUNY. Listing here does not imply endorsement; it is for informational and networking purposes. To get an event listed here, or for information on any events that don’t have a contact listed, email cunyslam@hotmail.com (Last updated 3/25/98)

Media Coverage of Our Events and Protests:

* New York Times Coverage of our Protest at the Feb. 23, 1998 Board of Trustees Meeting!!!

* El Diario Coverage of our March 19, 1998 Protest at Herman Badillo’s Office (Spanish only) (more…)

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[This list was made in 1998, at a time when many of the original SLAM groups had ceased being active on various campuses. So this is only accurate for the 1998 era of SLAM. For example, SLAM members at Brooklyn College were working with a new campus activist group because the original SLAM was no longer functioning there as a campus group.]

Active Groups

This list of active CUNY student groups is incomplete. The contact information for groups has been removed from this page since basically none of the contact info is good anymore. The page is otherwise left as is for historical purposes.

Brooklyn College Students Speak Out A coalition at BC organizing around open admissions issues. 718-951-5766

CCNY Coalition  The activist coalition at City College.

CCNY SLAM!  CCNY SLAM!

Grad. Center Doctoral Student Council

Hostos Students for Open Admissions

Hostos Student Government

Hunter College SLAM!/USG

Queens College SLAM! and Queensboro College SLAM!

NY Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG)

Welfare Rights Initiative (WRI)

CUNY Student Network Against Workfare (SNAW)

SLAM! Home Page | What’s New | Current Activities | Active Groups | Articles /Publications | SLAM! Documents | SLAM! Links

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[This is a SLAM! informational flier that was produced in Spring 1996.  Some of the data and information may be dated.]


Workfare and CUNY Students

What would you rather do with your time–go to college, or pick up trash in parks for no pay?  If you’re on Public Assistance, the city has decided that you no longer have a choice.  7,000 CUNY students have already been forced to leave school to “work off” their monthly check of less than $500, which already leaves students and their children way below the poverty line.  The Work Experience Program does not give people real jobs. It just prevents people from getting the education that they need to get a decent one in the future.

  • 10% of the students at CUNY — 20,000 people — receive Public Assistance.
  • There are now about 35,000 to 40,000 New Yorkers in the Work Experience Program (WEP). Mayor Giuliani wants to put 100,000 more people into the program this year.
  • WEP workers are supposed to be assigned jobs based on their skills and interests, but almost all are placed in Parks and Sanitation, where they get no training, no skills, and are not given basic information about the unsafe conditions they are often working under.
  • There are no job openings for WEP workers to move into. In fact, the city is laying off union workers.
  • Student mothers are hit especially hard. WEP workers are supposed to get childcare or money to cover it, but usually neither is provided. Childcare facilities at CUNY have long waiting lists and often have no evening hours.
  • 40% of CUNY students are immigrants, many of whom will be losing eligibility for Public Assistance under the Federal Personal Responsibility Act, which President Clinton signed last year.
  • Governor Pataki has proposed deep cuts to welfare, as well as a $400 tuition increase for CUNY schools.  More poor students than ever will be forced to leave.
  • This is not about helping people to get off welfare. 87% of welfare recipients who get a 4-year college degree never need welfare again.

If you are at risk of being forced to leave school because of a workfare assignment, call the Welfare Rights Initiative: 212-772-4091. CUNY Law School students and attorneys may be able to assist you with your case.

a SLAM! flier
Student Liberation Action Movement

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The Politics of Race and Class at CUNY – by Chris Day, 1997

By Christopher Day
Love & Rage Revolutionary Anarchist Newspaper
June/July 1997, Volume 8 Number 3

On Thursday, March 27 about 600 students gathered in City Hall Park to protest proposed budget cuts to the City University of New York (CUNY). Students came from at least a dozen schools. This demonstration was not going to turn into a battle with the cops like the 1995 demonstration of 25,000 students. But nonetheless, it demonstrated the existence of several hundred radical students at CUNY who will turn out for a rally even when the movement is at a low point. Reflecting the composition of CUNY better than previous demonstrations, Black and Latino students were a solid majority of the crowd and the speakers. After the rally much of the crowd marched to the nearest train station and took the subway to Harlem where they joined students at City College in their campus-based “Day of Outrage” against the budget cuts.

The fight against the budget cuts at CUNY has involved complex questions of race and class. The Student Liberation Action Movement (SLAM!), which organized the demonstration, is a broad-based, open and democratic organization rooted primarily at CUNY and dedicated to fighting the cuts. March 27 was the product of SLAM!’s efforts to develop a principled politics around these problems. Its efforts to navigate the difficult questions of class and race offer valuable lessons for activists facing similar questions elsewhere. (more…)

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Lenina Nadal, December 27, 2008

Lenina Nadal was a founding member of the CUNY Coalition Against the Cuts and SLAM. Having graduated in 1997, she returned in 2000 to help create SLAM’s organizer training institute. She is a filmmaker, playwright, and poet, and works for the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition. Visit http://www.performingprofound.com

interviewed by Suzy Subways

Suzy: I was thinking about how SLAM started at Hunter and how the different clubs kind of created SLAM together, right? What’s the story of that? There was the Palestinian Club, the Black Student Union and, from the beginning, how did they come together and work in the CUNY Coalition and start SLAM?

Lenina: To be honest, I remember a couple of individuals, Chris Day being one of them, who did what Chris Day does, which is put something provocative on a flier and start stapling it around the entire campus. It was only a couple of individuals that said, “there’s something going on here.” At the time, I was working with the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG), so we had our own campaign where we had began to tell students that tuition was going to be raised $1,000. So there was already publicity around campus saying that this is what’s going to happen. And then students started talking about this in classes. So even really before any particular clubs got involved, there was a lot of anxiety among the masses of students on campus, because $1,000 just seemed like a tremendous amount of money. However, I would say that there was one group, which was the Black Student Union, where you had members like Takala, a poet and activist, and Asha Bandele. So Asha Bandele and Takala at the time were in the leadership of the BSU, along with Kim Wade and a few other activists. And they were responsible for some of the major takeovers of the Hunter campus and other CUNY campuses in like 1990, 91. By the time 1995 rolled around, they were still in leadership, and while they didn’t play the central role anymore, they were continuing to raise consciousness among Black students on campus on these issues, and continuing to help the movement grow in their own way. And the other clubs that had a sort of political consciousness included the Palestinian Club and the Arab Club, which were very strongly affiliated, and right across the hall was the Puerto Rican Club, and that had some progressive membership that was kind of in and out. And I’d say those were the three that kind of solidified a people of color Left in terms of organizations on campus that were doing work.

But I would say that when it began, it was really a few students that said, “We’re going to do something about this. This is crazy.” And the only alternative that we were being offered was from NYPIRG, which was like, “Let’s go to our congresspeople, let’s go to our senators, let’s lobby, let’s see if we can change it from within.” But the frustration was already building up. And a lot of it was because working class students were feeling like their financial aid was going to be cut, their tuition was going to be increased, and this might be the last chance they had at a CUNY education. So the stakes were very. very high for all students. It was really a mass movement. It’s like most movements – the leadership can claim it, but they have to claim it after the masses have already said, “This is what we want.” Those of us who had been part of organizations or who grew up with leftist parents, we started to get to know each other and kind of see that we had something to offer to sustain a movement. In that sense, that’s how some of that leadership started to come together.

(more…)

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These audio recordings (click on the links below) are from a panel at the CUNY Social Forum, held at City College October 17 to 19, 2008. The panel was an informally organized discussion by some former SLAM members and SLAM fam, along with activists attending the workshop.

How this panel came to be – John Kim (1 minute, 53 seconds)

Suzy Subways, journalist and AIDS activist in Philadelphia, was in Brooklyn College SLAM, worked with High School Organizing Program (5 minutes, 22 seconds): “Women of color in SLAM taught me how to organize”

Orlando Green, National Hip-Hop Political Convention, Blacks Against War, SLAM alum, City College alum, organizer at Baruch College in the 90s (10 minutes, 33 seconds): SLAM’s roots in the Black community and radical people of color organizing

John Kim, SLAM member back in the day, initiated this workshop (5 minutes, 56 seconds): “We knew we needed to build organizational power”

Daniel Tasripin, Hunter College Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), Hunter SLAM member 2001-2004 (13 minutes, 34 seconds): “The message came down from 80th Street to Hunter’s president – ‘Enough of these radicals in student government!'”

Hank Williams, in Africana Studies at CUNY grad center, organizing for Black studies doctorate, was in 2nd generation of SLAM at City College (13 minutes, 5 seconds): “SLAM was a movement engine to support larger struggles around the city”

Terry Marshall, Hip-Hop Media Lab, Hip-Hop Sustains, was in Students Organizing for Unity and Liberation (SOUL) at Roxbury Community College in Boston in the 90s (11 minutes, 9 seconds): “We just had this indignation, like ‘They don’t even respect us as human beings…. Fuck that, we’re going to take this building!'”

Questions & Answers

What is the potential for CUNY students to organize high school students?

What was day-to-day SLAM organizing like? And how did it play out with Leninists, anarchists, nationalists working together?

With a high turnover rate among students, how do you bring people in who are interested first thing in September?

Could you adopt a high school, teach the truth, and bring those students into CUNY? The mayor controls the schools, but cats don’t educate mice, they eat them. Also, while we oppose the system, how can we use an above-ground strategy to undermine the 2-party electoral system?

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To listen to these sound files, recorded Oct. 17, 2008, in Harlem at the CUNY Social Forum, click on the links below:

Maria Arettines (moderator), a CUNY Social Forum organizer and Hunter College student: “What are our desires?” (5 minutes, 23 seconds)

Hank Williams, veteran of the Student Liberation Action Movement (SLAM!) and organizer with the Africana Studies Group at the CUNY Graduate Center: The CUNY movement, women of color feminism, and our vision of the university in the aftermath of losing Open Admissions (12 minutes, 31 seconds)

Vanessa James, Parents in Action for Leadership and Human Rights: Fighting Children’s Services for the human right to keep our children from being taken away (10 minutes, 58 seconds)

Mark Torres, former City College student activist, member of the Hostos Educators’ Association: Building organizational power – “Educate, agitate, organize!” (11 minutes, 33 seconds)

Dr. Leonard Jeffries, department of political science, City College; former chair of Black Studies Department: From shattered consciousness and fractured identities to a blueprint for people’s power (21 minutes, 36 seconds)

Luz Schreiber, co-founder of Hunter Parent Union, former member of SLAM and founding member of Ollin Imagination: Dreaming revolution, imagining collective solutions (9 minutes, 40 seconds)

Q&A – Movement elders and students speak and ask questions (41 minutes, 18 seconds)

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NY Times Coverage of March 23, 1998 Protest at Board of Trustees Meeting


(From March 24, 1998 NY Times)

CUNY Board Fails to Approve Bid to Allow Remedial Cuts

By KAREN W. ARENSON

NEW YORK — The heightened political sensitivity surrounding the status of remedial classes at the City University of New York was evident Monday as the board narrowly failed to pass a resolution that would have allowed individual colleges to abolish remedial classes.

The measure was aimed at permitting Baruch College to cut out all remedial classes this fall, as it has planned to do for more than a year, before the board began to consider a plan banning remediation at its four-year colleges. But the issue has become so heated that several trustees expressed wariness about taking any action before the broader issues were settled. (more…)

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