We’re holding our first Freedom School of the semester this Thursday, February 4, at 7 p.m. The topic is an important one for our union; Chenjerai Kumayika and Donna Murch will host a discussion of “Why R Budget Matters: RCM and Campus Austerity.”
A range of speakers from across our campuses will address how RCM has affected their colleagues, including Jim Brown, president of the Camden Chapter of Rutgers AAUP-AFT, graduate student leader Ian Gavigan, former AAUP-AFT president David Hughes, and Christine O’Connell of the Union of Rutgers Administrators. We will also be joined by labor activists and scholars Felicia Kornbluh and Helen Scott of United Academics from the University of Vermont, who will explain how a parallel system of budgeting has resulted in the layoffs of tenured faculty at their school.
For this session, we’re assigning a little bit of homework: take some time to watch this short video on “What Is RCM?” by our colleague Chenjerai Kumanyika and read our union’s fact sheet on “The Rutgers Budget Swindle.”
As we wrote last year before our first Freedom School, our union is organizing these sessions in the tradition of Ella Baker, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and the 1960s civil rights movement. We all know how the pandemic has disrupted both our ordinary lives and how we connect to each other. We want Freedom School to be a virtual classroom and discussion space for union members, students, and the broader communities that Rutgers serves, with the goal of developing leadership and political consciousness for a new generation.
We have an exciting list of sessions for the semester, featuring speakers from within our Coalition of Rutgers Unions as well as the wider labor and social movements, discussing the themes that inform our current struggles for economic, racial, and social justice.
Please join us this coming Thursday night. RSVP here for the Zoom link, forward this email to friends and colleagues who would be interested, and share the event on Facebook. Plus, you can subscribe to the new Freedom School-Rutgers AAUP-AFT YouTube channel.
If you have any questions about Freedom School or ideas about future sessions, email [email protected]. See you this Thursday!
Donna, Todd, and Becky
Donna Murch, Executive Council, People of Color Caucus Co-Chair, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
Todd Wolfson, President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
Rebecca Givan, Vice President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
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