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.

 

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

Academic Petition in Support of Immigrants & International Collaboration

In response to the Executive Order released last week that directs, among many problematic measures, a 90-day suspension of immigration of nationals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen; a stay on the order was issued by Judge Connelly in New York. A victory for the local ACLU. Here is the text of that document.

The stay is a short term victory. The Executive Order includes many other threats, much questionable language, and academics across the country have responded to these threats with a petition. Here is the press release for that petition. Please read the press release for the complete stance on the petition.

More than 6,000 academics signed in the first 24 hours after the order was issued. More than 42,000 have signed total. At least 30,000 are US Faculty Members. Other signatories include post-doctoral scholars, doctoral candidates, masters students and non-US scholars. Here is the home page for the petition.

Wide circulation is highly encouraged. To sign, send an email, preferably from a .edu address, to: NoToImmigrationEO@gmail.com.

The *subject line* of the email should include your: name, award/distinction, title, affiliation.

Image: “IIE delegation in Tehran, Iran” – with credit to IHE, 8/18/2015

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.

Fighting Racism at UW:

This brief is summary information that follows the reports of two football fans at the UW-Madison stadium who displayed masks depicting, now president elect, Donald Trump holding a noose around the necks of President Barack Obama and Secretary Hillary Clinton at the UW-Madison football stadium on October 29.

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Student athlete, Mr. Nigel Hayes (pictured above from: host.madison.com), authored this letter in response to the events, which was shared quickly among students, according to the Badger Herald.

While Chancellor Rebecca Blank issued her own statement, alumni mounted a series of letters that critiqued what they considered a flat response. Students, alumni and community members have called for more action to fight against racial injustice on campus and in the Madison community at large.

Symposium Report: Relations between Community and Police

RELATIONS BETWEEN COMMUNITY & POLICE

A WUU Sponsored Symposium

On October 5th, 2016 WUU members gathered with a crowd of around eighty members of university faculty, staff, students and the public to discuss community and police relations.

We were generously supported by a panel of excellent speakers including:

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Alix Shabaaz – Community Organizer & Freedom Fighter with Freedom Inc.

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Michael Davis – MA Student Department of African American Studies, PhD Student in the School of Education & Community Organizer with Freedom Inc.

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Ajani Carr – Youth Activist & Community Organizer

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David C. Couper – Retired Madison Police Chief, Activist, Clergy, & Poet

We had a most welcome late addition to the program: a guest appearance from Dr. D. Sajnani (Also known as: Professor D., African Cultural Studies), who offered his commentary as well.

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As WUU stands for equity in the work place and our work place is a public university, the issue of Community-Police relations impacts us all. Locally and nationally there have been serious questions raised around Community-Police relations in past years. In this symposium, our speakers directly addressed those questions. They raised concerns regarding the deplorable treatment of people of color in our communities, critiqued the institutions of policing in America, and addressed proposals on how community control over the police may benefit our society.

A most gracious, warm, thank you to all our speakers and all those folks in attendance!

wuu.madison@gmail.com