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Archive for the ‘welfare rights’ 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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[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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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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