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STEM, Social Science & Humanities Professional Organizations Oppose Tax Bill

When the announcement came that the House of Representatives version of the Republican Party’s tax bill would take aim at Graduate Student Tuition Waivers and Tax exceptions for student loan interest, professional organizations across the academy responded. On November 15th, 44 organizations from scientific communities, including Social Science and STEM organizations, wrote a letter to the United States Congress (see below).

When the vote passed the House, and a new Senate version of the bill was proposed, these two provisions impacting graduate students were removed. Still, according to Inside Higher Ed, the Senate version of the Republican Party tax bill would continue to have a negative impact on higher education, particularly research institutions with large endowments. In anticipation of the Senate vote, and to ward off provisions of the House bill that might be added by amendment, 41 organizations affiliation with the Social Sciences and the Humanities on November 28.

On the 29th, graduate assistants across the country, at more than 60 locations walked out, as part of a coordinate effort to oppose the provisions of the Republican Party tax bills.

As debate continued, a proposal in the Washington Post argued for removal of charges of graduate tuition altogether in response to the Republican Party House of Representatives version of the tax bill. While reviews on the proposal are mixed, at least some view the response, putting the pressure on institutions themselves, as victim blaming.

Regardless of positions and proposals in response, faculty, staff and students seem united around one clear issue: the House of Representatives version of the tax bill is worse than the Senate version, but the Senate version still has damaging provisions. For example, even the Senate version risks an increase of $1.4 trillion dollars in the deficit according to Congressional Budgetary Office analysis. The difference would then likely be mounted as an argument to cut benefits programs such as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. As the tax bill moves to joint congressional committee, the question will be “How bad is bad? And why?”

Opposition to provisions in the legislation can still make themselves heard in committee, before the house vote, before the final vote, and before the stage where, theoretically, the president could sign the bill into law, or veto it. The legislation still has a long way to go, and opposition to it has been mounting.

 

Beer on Us! October 26th

Friends,

Want to have a beer on the Wisconsin University Union (WUU)?

We’ll spring for snacks and non-alcoholic drinks too.

There won’t be ANY speechifying and the purpose isn’t to sign people up for WUU (though discussions of union issues may well come up).

We just want to spark discussion of some current issue(s) each month, like these:

–increase in administrative jobs vs. decrease in faculty positions
–governance at UW today
–salaries from student workers through faculty to administrators
–access and affordability

 

This month we will focus on coordinating WUU & TAA efforts.

 

We will meet on Thursday, October 26th at 5:00 at Memorial Union — on the Terrace if the weather is suitable, otherwise in the Rathskeller.

September 2017: Executive Board Minutes

I: Fall Open Gatherings – organization question?

We do want to continue to put a strong emphasis on outreach. For example, coordinate with UFAS, PROFS, and AAUP.

II: Co-sponsorship

To co-sponsor an event with WUU, the board found that there should be a significant contribution from the cosponsoring institution.

III: Cases

Case #1

Case #2

IV: Minutes

Stripped down/simplified versions of several months OK’d to post on website.

V: New Business

DACA: Web updates on DACA programmed as releases through the FB page.

Discussion on Campus climate.

Join WUU for our Spring 2017 Symposium:

LOCATION:

Pyle Center Room # 209

702 Langdon St. Madison, WI 53706

TIME:

April 5th, 2017 – 5:30 PM – 7:00 PM

Frozen in Place is a symposium organized by the Wisconsin University Union (WUU), University Faculty and Academic Staff (UFAS) the local American Association of University Professors (AAUP). The Board of Regents, Human Resources, Faculty and Staff have all recognized the problem. The University of Wisconsin has been told that there will not be funding to support raises to account for increased cost of living, merit or critical compensation funds for the coming year. The legislature has, however, delineated a given amount of money that will be available for selected raise increases. The question is, how do we distribute these funds in the most beneficial fashion to build UW programs?

PANELISTS:

Michael Moscicke (Interim President AAUP)

Mara Matovich (Associated Students of Madison)

John Wiley (Former Chancellor [2001-2008])

Anna Paretskaya (UFAS, Lecturer in the Department of Sociology)

Jambul Akkaziev (UFAS, Faculty Assistant for English as a Second Language Programs)

REFRESHMENTS WILL BE SERVED

Prevent Concealed Carry on Campus:

The Associated Students of Madison (ASM) is the democratically elected body of student government on our campus. They represent the student’s interests above all else.

In response to recent discussions, there is evidence to suggest that “Concealed Carry Legislation” is proposed for passage by the capital in January.

Concealed Carry Legislation would allow concealed carry of weapons on UW-Madison campus. ASM interprets this as a threat to student safety. The voice of the students has spoken.

WUU E-Board would like to invite you to join the opposition to this legislation. Here is a link to a petition you may sign: Support our students, oppose concealed carry on campus!

Anti-Authoritarian Academic Code of Conduct

Rachel Barney, a professor of classics and philosophy at the University of Toronto has written a 10 point Anti-Authoritarian Code of Conduct that professors have begun to post around UW-Madison’s campus. Please share widely!

Here’s the 10-point code:

  • I will not aid in the registering, rounding up or internment of students and colleagues on the basis of their religious beliefs.
  • I will not aid in the marginalization, exclusion or deportation of my undocumented students and colleagues.
  • I will, as my capacities allow, discourage and defend against the bullying and harassment of vulnerable students and colleagues targeted for important aspects of their identity (such as race, gender, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, etc.).
  • I will not aid government or law enforcement in activities which violate the U.S. Constitution or other U.S. law.
  • I will not aid in government surveillance. I will not inform.
  • As a teacher and researcher, I will not be bought or intimidated. I will present the state of research in my field accurately, whether or not it is what the government wants to hear. I will challenge others when they lie.
  • I will not be shy about my commitment to academic values: truth, objectivity, free inquiry and rational debate. I will challenge others when they engage in behavior contrary to these values.
  • As an administrator, I will defend my students, faculty and nonacademic staff. I will not allow the expulsion, firing, disciplining, harassment or marginalization of individuals targeted for being members of disfavored groups or for expressing dangerous opinions. I will speak up for academic freedom. I will insist on the autonomy of my institution.
  • I will stand with my colleagues at other institutions, and defend their rights and freedoms.
  • I will be fair and unbiased in the classroom, in grading and in all my dealings with all my students, including those who disagree with me politically.