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In the past several years we have seen incredible social movements spanning the globe in response to the still worsening economic crisis and punishing austerity measures that followed it. Young people, students, and workers are standing up to the abuses of a system bent on denying us a future. These forces, driven by greed, will continue a path of wealth accumulation for the few on the backs of the many. North Carolina is no different.

Wealthy right-wing donors bought the North Carolina legislature and put Tea Party conservatives in the driver’s seat of our state. Their program is clear: public education and services will face massive cuts, and the general welfare of our state will be undermined to benefit the richest few. From voting rights to women’s rights, those in power want to take us backwards. North Carolina families, students, and workers cannot afford this regressive agenda — and we will not accept it. It is more urgent than ever to build upon multi-issue, grassroots mobilization efforts in NC. Our state has a rich history of activism and resistance, and as in the past, students must serve as leaders in the fight for social justice. The time for organizing a powerful student movement is now!

On February 16th 2013, The NC-Student Power Union will be holding a statewide organizing conference in Raleigh, North Carolina—our state capital. This conference will bring together leaders of social justice organizations, university faculty, and most importantly, students like us for a day of education, inspiration, and action.

Instead of accepting a future shaped by low wage jobs, racism, and a warming planet, our generation is coming together to demand a world with opportunity for all people and justice for our earth—a world without fear of deportation, crushing debt, or heterosexist discrimination. Join the movement on February 16th. Help build student voice and student power to reclaim our education and create the state we want to live in.

Register for the Conference Today.

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Seven months after nationwide actions against budget cuts and tuition hikes on March 4th, the National Day to Defend Public Education, the struggle continues. The economic crisis has resulted in the university’s crisis of priorities and the students are fighting back.

The Board of Trustees raised in-state tuition by 24% in the past year and they want to lift the cap on tuition increases, while over four thousand class sections have been cut since 2007.  Over 300 facilities workers have been laid off, yet nine levels of management supervision remain. Our situation at UNC-CH is just one example of downward trends across the country in public education.

Another day of national action has been planned for October 7th.

Women, and especially women of color, have historically been denied access to public education and continue to be marginalized in various academic departments, such as the Sciences.  UNC-CH undergraduate studies were desegregated in 1955, but the first African-American woman did not attend the university until 1963.

Academic departments focused on women, people of color, and LGBTQ folks feel the effects of budgets cuts disproportionately.  Centers that serve women and other oppressed groups such as the Women’s Center and the American Indian Center are the first to have their budget slashed when cuts are made. While at UNC-CH the “average” budget cut to the hardest-hit centers was 17%, the total cut for the Carolina Women’s Center was 25%.

Housekeepers, a workforce that is comprised overwhelmingly of women of color, continue to be fired and laid off, despite the fact that Bain and Co. found that UNC needs to hire more housekeepers.  The workers who remain take on an increased workload but receive no subsequent increase in pay, and administrators enact dehumanizing rules such as the no-sitting policies which infantalizes these workers and puts their health at risk all in the name of increased efficiency.

While housekeepers are paid the lowest salaries, administrators’ salaries continue to increase. Chancellor Thorp makes $420,000 per year (15 times that of the average housekeeper and 11 times that of the median North Carolina household income) and a committee of the UNC system’s governing board suggested that the new UNC system president Tom Ross — the eighth white man to assume the position — should make $550,000 a year, a 15% increase from Bowles’ salary.

As feminists, we will not stand idly by as sexism, heterosexism, racism and capitalism work to dismantle the public education that students fought hard to access and improve.  Join us on October 7th to defend public education at 3pm at the State Capitol building in Raleigh where we will rally and march with groups from across the state.

Feminist Students United (FSU) is a progressive feminist organization which affirms that no form of oppression can be overcome until all aspects of racism, classism, sexism, and heterosexism are dismantled. We acknowledge intersecting identities and strive to be mindful of these intersections in all our work. We endeavor to create an environment which is non-hierarchical and supportive in nature, and we work to bring about change in our community through education, outreach, direct action and community organizing.

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