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Friday, April 12, 2013

Friday, April 12, 2013

Tales from the IU Strike

By Anonymous

Yesterday was the first day of the IU-system wide strike. "IU on Strike" reports that 15 picket teams were sent across the Bloomington campus to spread the strike – to dorms, workplaces, the major academic buildings, cafeterias, and bus stops. Teach-ins and alternate classes, organized by undergrads, grad students and faculty and open to all, were held in the heart of campus. More than 300 people left the starting point of the strike demo, snaking across campus, and were joined by more than 100 along the way. Many support staff (whose contracts include a no-strike clause) stood in the doorways of buildings to watch.

Later in the day, a group of 150 protested the Board of Trustees meeting which was held behind closed doors. Small numbers of people were allowed into the meetings, in groups of five. The vast majority of the protesters remained outside, chanting, sharing stories of debt, and making noise. The Board of Trustees meeting is traditionally open to the public.

"IU on Strike" assesses that hundreds of people participated in the movement for the first time. Many academic buildings were half-abandoned. Solidarity actions were also reported at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the University of Michigan, while statements were received from many more schools across the country.

The strikers declared the first day of the strike a success, in making it clear to the Trustees that the political costs for cutting public education have gone up, and laying the groundwork for the larger movement and disruption necessary to turn the university around. Strikers demands focus on reducing tuition and fees, stopping privatization, improving wages for workers, and issues of diversity.

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