picture of some of the signs students at Santa Monica College in Los Angeles made for their campout at the college on April 30th after facing administrative and police harrassment

Community colleges across California are facing the wrath of privatization efforts by reactionary forces, most notably for-profit colleges and their surrogates, the corporate media and coin-operated politicians.  Both democrats and republicans have been and are continuing to use shock doctrine crisis management to privatize the community college campuses. 

One of the recent salvos in the battle in California came with the introduction of legislation, AB515, by Democrat Assembly Member, Julia Brownley, on February 15, 2011.  The bill would have set up a ‘corporation’ within the community colleges that could charge 400 times the fees for traditional classes.  This, the access hierarchy, was an attempt by liberals to govern in face of privatization.  The bill was soundly defeated (http://www.aroundthecapitol.com/Bills/AB_515/20112012/).

But the forces of privatization will not stop with one defeat.  Both corporate liberals and reactionaries have decided the best way to deal with austerity crisis and budget cuts are to capitulate to the forces of capital, not to mount an offensive.  They have drafted and engineered another “access hierarchy” which, if ever successful, promises to form a class-based tollbooth for students who wish to attend community colleges.  What this means is a two-tiered class system of fees for a two-tiered class society.  Those students who can pay more at the ‘tollbooth’ will do so and those who cannot will be denied access to classes.

The despicable capitulation to privatization for-profit forces means that community colleges are set to compete with the likes of Kaplan University, DeVry, Cappella, ITT and a host of predatory sub-prime for-profit colleges.

Readers can go back to an article at Dailycensored.com, http://dailycensored.com/2010/08/26/california-community-colleges-decide-not-to-fornicate-with-for-profit-predatory-kaplan-university/, written in August of 2010 that chronicles how current Chancellor of the California Community College system, Jack Scott attempted to contract out community college classes to predatory, subprime, Kaplan University back in 2010.  The despicable failure of the liberal Chancellor and union leadership at the 112 community colleges to fight for students has now created the material conditions for the private control of the educational means of production.

This is the moment that the for-profit disaster colleges have been waiting for as more and more students cannot “get in community college classes due to shortages” and “cannot get out of them” due to class shortages; they hover in wait like predatory parasites waiting for a host.

Santa Monica College takes a stand

Recently, the situation at Santa Monica College in Los Angeles has shown the degree to which the ruling elites will go to assure that autocracy runs the day and that privatization becomes the new economic structure.  There, in early April, students were blocked from entering a public meeting where a two-tiered tollbooth system for access to classes was to be voted on.  Students were pepper sprayed by police and two of the victims taken to the hospital (http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/04/santa-monica-college-protest-pepper-spray.html)

The denial to allow students and the public to enter into public space where a public hearing was held was and is a direct violation of the California Brown Act (http://ag.ca.gov/publications/2003_Intro_BrownAct.pdf) which requires notice and the ability to participate in a public hearing but that did not stop police from pepper spraying students and even a four year old girl.  There were many other procedural problems with the Trustee meeting that ended in police violence.

Since this time an investigation has been launched by the SMC but the investigatory body is made up of members of the SMC, hardly an impartial body.  The lawyer for the SMC is the head of the investigatory committee.  The investigation will most likely blame students for the episode as explained to me by Harrison Wills, Student President for the Associated Students at SMC.

Advance the Dream or Advance the Scheme?

Santa Monica College was chosen as a Petri dish to launch the two-tiered system in light of the failure of AB515 to pass.  The college has a student body of 20,000 and is highly diverse.  Built in 1939 the campus is huge and if it had dormitories, it would qualify for a state college or university – it is that big.  Looking for a community college where they could experiment with students in an attempt to compete with for-profit colleges, the Board of Trustees attempted to shove through their own version of AB515 for SMC.  SMC also has 40% of their student body eligible for waivers from fees as opposed to most California Community colleges that se approximately 60% of their campus student body eligible for fee waivers.  This makes the experiment even more savory for the privatizers for if the idea would work at SMC, they could then take the pilot on the road to the other 112 community colleges.

Meanwhile the attempt to continue to fully privatize the college has not abated.  The Board of Trustees, determined to force a hierarchy for classes on SMC, are now trying to see the idea using sophist rhetoric.  They call the two-tiered program, Advance the Dream when it would be more logical to entitle it, Advance the Scheme.

SMC is now facing both a Student Association election and further hearings on Advance the Dream

Two candidates are running for student body president.  One candidate is Ernesto Sevilla and he is a middle aged, returning student who has shifted his position on privatization and Advance the Dream.  He says he now has no position but there are members of the community college who believe that Sevilla is merely a stealth candidate to stop students from maintaining power and fighting privatization.  He is running on a slate.

The other candidate is Parker Jean, a young student who is running against Advance the Dream and for a “paradigm change”.  Parker is part of a slate of students running for government on the platform of engaging in community building, bringing a political consciousness to SMC and encouraging environmental awareness.

On May 30th, the night before May Day, students slept outside on the campus lawn to protest privatization and Advance the Dream.  The administration, hearing of the camp-out, spread manure on the lawn and made sure the sprinkler system delivered a nice dose of water for the students’ overnight (see caption picture).  This is clearly juvenile and constitutes petty harrassment.

SMC is potential occupied territory for for-profit colleges

I was fortunate enough to be invited by current Student Body President, Harrison Will to attend the college on May Day, for events planned to raise political awareness.

When I arrived at the campus I entered the main entrance and was greeted with a job’s fair.  Tables were lined on each side of the walkway and as I entered it was like entering a corporate and security state Mausch Pit.  The FBI had recruitment tables; the military was present with tables and brochures.  Merrill-Lynch representatives dressed like Men in Black, with shades manned tables for the sleazy corporation. 

Eager students, many of them fearful they may never work, lingered by the sides of tables asking for information.  But there is no employment.  The official “seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for Black youths between 16 and 19 years-of-age in the United States increased from 34.7 to 40.5 percent between February and March 2012; while the “not seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for Latino youths between 16 and 19 years-of-age increased from 27.5 to 30.5 percent during the same period, according to recent Bureau of Labor Statistics data. In addition, the “seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for white youths between 16 and 19 years-of-age increased from 21.3 to 22.5 percent between February and March 2012; while the official jobless rate for all U.S. workers between the ages of 16 and 19 years-of-age increased from 23.8 to 25 percent during the same period (http://wherechangeobama.blogspot.com/2012/04/black-youth-unemployment-rate-increases.html).

Students form General Assembly: The Student Organizing Committee

A General Assembly of about forty or more students was held on May Day and students sat in breakout groups to discuss Advance the Dream and other educational issues.  This was organized by the Student Organizing Committee, a student forme3d group on campus.  The break-out groups reconstituted themselves after an hour into a larger general assembly where students reported the discussions they had.  Many students spoke of the inability they have of developing their full potential for they must work part time or often full time and find they are tired from lack of sleep and irregular eating habits.  Other students spoke of exorbitant rent or the fact they cannot get housing.  One student told me that he shared a two bedroom apartment in Santa Monica where four students occupied the residence.  Two students to each room slept on the floor for the cost of $650 per student.

Capitalism has now meant that students cannot get an education, they cannot get job, they cannot get housing and they are left on the side of the road mired in non-dischargeable debt.

Police occupation on campus palpable

The campus appears like an armed camp.  Throughout the campus there were uniform police walking in pairs or in fours.  They seemed to be everywhere and Harrison wills told me that the night of the campout, police were positioned on the roof of the campus.  Clearly police presence is the norm at SMC as our video surveillance cameras.  Posted alongside buildings and within them are notices in the form of plaques informing students they are under 24 hour constant video.

Intimidation and fear seem to ‘occupy’ the campus and many students told me that they felt they were under direct surveillance and even thought that their phones might be monitored.  Advance the Dream is being pushed from everyone from members of the ACLU, the college president and of course the for-profit colleges.

The Student Newspaper taken over by for-profit college ads

The SMC student newspaper is called the ‘Corsair’.  The Corsair is not owned by the corporatized campus.  Part of the revenue of the college comes from full or partially full page ads in the college paper from for-profit colleges like National University, DeVry and others.  These colleges have now taken over the revenue stream for the paper.

I have recently requested information about the paper (under the California Public Records Act) about its ownership and which colleges pay to advert5ise in the paper and how much is being paid for advertisements for the years of 2010, 2011 and 2012.

The Corsair also runs ‘college News stands’.  These are marquee stands that advertise by for-profit colleges.  They are all over campus and stand out like corporate bill boards.

What was amazing is that when I spoke to one of the student managing editors at the paper, he seemed to have no problem with for-profit colleges providing ads for a community college paper.  He defended the practice as ‘a revenue necessity’ and said anyone could advertise with the paper.  The presence of privatization seems to run so deep it is hardly even ‘seen’ by many students who attend the SMC.

Clearly the for-profit colleges know that students cannot get classes they need to graduate or transfer.  This is why they advertise, to sell education as a commodity to students who cannot otherwise get it publicly.  For a community college to allow these for profit predatory colleges to advertise so vividly and openly at a public college is testimony to the fact that privatization is being embraced by many forces on campus.

The administration of SMC is committed to an access hierarchy and privatization.  This is due to the fact as highly paid administrators and chummy Trustees they see their positions and power threatened if they do not make a deal with the forces of privatization.  This is what poses as invertebrate leadership at community colleges through California and throughout the nation.  It must stop.

May 12th meeting formed to stop the privatization of community colleges

The good news is that concerned citizens, teachers, students and others are committed to standing up against the for-profit colleges and privatization.  A meeting to begin to develop strategies to stop the privatization of community colleges is scheduled for May 12th in San Francisco.

It is essential that the privatization of education be seen as a package deal – from K-university.  Those parties working to fight off privatization in K-12 are highly encouraged to attend to ally their interests with those of us concerned about the privatization of community colleges, state colleges, the UC system and all forms of higher education.  The struggle is the same, the forces identical.

Called for by Students and Faculty from city College of San Francisco

112 Community Colleges serving 260,000 students in the State of California

Join us to discuss:

 • The Student Success Act (a series of legislative and regulation changes that will ration CCC education)

• The formation of a statewide student union

• Neoliberalism and student struggles around the world

Together we will build a statewide coalition of students, faculty and workers from California Community Colleges to assert our right to public higher education.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

9:00am to 5:00pm

CCSF Mission Campus
Valencia St., Between 22 and 23rd, San Francisco

 

Please register for this event at http://kccc.eventbrite.com/

 

info: CCSF Mission

 Campus is accessible and public transportation available24th St. BART, and MUNI lines 12,14, 14L, 48, 49, & 67.

 

Community colleges across California are facing the wrath of privatization efforts by reactionary forces, most notably for-profit colleges and their surrogates, the corporate media and coin-operated politicians.  Both democrats and republicans have been and are continuing to use shock doctrine crisis management to privatize the community college campuses. 

One of the recent salvos in the battle in California came with the introduction of legislation, AB515, by Democrat Assembly Member, Julia Brownley, on February 15, 2011.  The bill would have set up a ‘corporation’ within the community colleges that could charge 400 times the fees for traditional classes.  This, the access hierarchy, was an attempt by liberals to govern in face of privatization.  The bill was soundly defeated (http://www.aroundthecapitol.com/Bills/AB_515/20112012/).

But the forces of privatization will not stop with one defeat.  Both corporate liberals and reactionaries have decided the best way to deal with austerity crisis and budget cuts are to capitulate to the forces of capital, not to mount an offensive.  They have drafted and engineered another “access hierarchy” which, if ever successful, promises to form a class-based tollbooth for students who wish to attend community colleges.  What this means is a two-tiered class system of fees for a two-tiered class society.  Those students who can pay more at the ‘tollbooth’ will do so and those who cannot will be denied access to classes.

The despicable capitulation to privatization for-profit forces means that community colleges are set to compete with the likes of Kaplan University, DeVry, Cappella, ITT and a host of predatory sub-prime for-profit colleges.

Readers can go back to an article at Dailycensored.com, http://dailycensored.com/2010/08/26/california-community-colleges-decide-not-to-fornicate-with-for-profit-predatory-kaplan-university/, written in August of 2010 that chronicles how current Chancellor of the California Community College system, Jack Scott. attempted to contract out community college classes to predatory, subprime, Kaplan University back in 2010.  The despicable failure of the liberal union leadership at the 112 community colleges to fight for students has now created the material conditions for the private control of the educational means of production.

This is the moment that the for-profit disaster colleges have been waiting for as more and more students cannot “get in community college classes due to shortages” and “cannot get out of them” due to class shortages, they hover like parasites waiting for a host.

Santa Monica College takes a stand

Recently, the situation at Santa Monica College in Los Angeles has shown the degree to which the ruling elites will go to assure that autocracy runs the day and that privatization becomes the new economic structure.  There, in early April, students were blocked from entering a public meeting where a two-tiered tollbooth system for access to classes was to be voted on.  Students were pepper sprayed by police and two of the victims taken to the hospital (http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/04/santa-monica-college-protest-pepper-spray.html)

The denial to allow students and the public to enter into public space where a public hearing was held was and is a direct violation of the California Brown Act (http://ag.ca.gov/publications/2003_Intro_BrownAct.pdf) which requires notice and the ability to participate in a public hearing but that did not stop police from pepper spraying students and even a four year old girl.  There were many other procedural problems with the Trustee meeting that ended in police violence.

Since this time an investigation has been launched by the SMC but the investigatory body is made up of members of the SMC, hardly an impartial body.  The lawyer for the SMC is the head of the investigatory committee.  The investigation will most likely blame students for the episode as explained to me by Harrison Wills, Student President for the Associated Students at SMC.

Advance the Dream or Advance the Scheme?

Santa Monica College was chosen as a Petri dish to launch the two-tiered system in light of the failure of AB515 to pass.  The college has a student body of 20,000 and is highly diverse.  Built in 1939 the campus is huge and if it had dormitories, it would qualify for a state college or university – it is that big.  Looking for a community college where they could experiment with students in an attempt to compete with for-profit colleges, the Board of Trustees attempted to shove through their own version of AB515 for SMC.  SMC also has 40% of their student body eligible for waivers from fees as opposed to most California Community colleges that se approximately 60% of their campus student body eligible for fee waivers.  This makes the experiment even more savory for the privatizers for if the idea would work at SMC, they could then take the pilot on the road to the other 112 community colleges.

Meanwhile the attempt to continue to fully privatize the college has not abated.  The Board of Trustees, determined to force a hierarchy for classes on SMC, are now trying to see the idea using sophist rhetoric.  They call the two-tiered program, Advance the Dream when it would be more logical to entitle it, Advance the Scheme.

SMC is now facing both a Student Association election and further hearings on Advance the Dream

Two candidates are running for student body president.  One candidate is Ernesto Sevilla and he is a middle aged returning student who has shifted his position on privatization.  He says he now has no position but there are members of the community college who believe that Sevilla is merely a stealth candidate to stop students from maintaining power and fighting privatization. 

The other candidate is Parker Jean, a young student who is running against Advance the Dream and for a “paradigm change”.  Parker is part of a slate of students running for government on the platform of engaging in community building, bringing a political consciousness to SMC and encouraging environmental awareness.

On May 30th, the night before May Day, students slept outside on the campus lawn to protest privatization and Advance the Dream.  The administration, hearing of the camp-out, spread manure on the lawn and made sure the sprinkler system delivered a nice dose of water for the students’ overnight. 

SMC is potential occupied territory for for-profit colleges

I was fortunate enough to be invited by current Student Body President, Harrison Will to attend the college on May Day, for events planned to raise political awareness.

When I arrived at the campus I entered the main entrance and was greeted with a job’s fair.  Tables were lined on each side of the walkway and as I entered it was like entering a corporate and security state Mausch Pit.  The FBI had recruitment tables; the military was present with tables and brochures.  Merrill-Lynch representatives dressed like Men in Black, with shades manned tables for the sleazy corporation. 

Eager students, many of them fearful they may never work, lingered by the sides of tables asking for information.  But there is no employment.  The official “seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for Black youths between 16 and 19 years-of-age in the United States increased from 34.7 to 40.5 percent between February and March 2012; while the “not seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for Latino youths between 16 and 19 years-of-age increased from 27.5 to 30.5 percent during the same period, according to recent Bureau of Labor Statistics data. In addition, the “seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for white youths between 16 and 19 years-of-age increased from 21.3 to 22.5 percent between February and March 2012; while the official jobless rate for all U.S. workers between the ages of 16 and 19 years-of-age increased from 23.8 to 25 percent during the same period (http://wherechangeobama.blogspot.com/2012/04/black-youth-unemployment-rate-increases.html).

Students form General Assembly: The Student Organizing Committee

A General Assembly of about forty or more students was held on May Day and students sat in breakout groups to discuss Advance the Dream and other educational issues.  This was organized by the Student Organizing Committee, a student forme3d group on campus.  The break-out groups reconstituted themselves after an hour into a larger general assembly where students reported the discussions they had.  Many students spoke of the inability they have of developing their full potential for they must work part time or often full time and find they are tired from lack of sleep and irregular eating habits.  Other students spoke of exorbitant rent or the fact they cannot get housing.  One student told me that he shared a two bedroom apartment in Santa Monica where four students occupied the residence.  Two students to each room slept on the floor for the cost of $650 per student.

Capitalism has now meant that students cannot get an education, they cannot get job, they cannot get housing and they are left on the side of the road mired in non-dischargeable debt.

Police occupation on campus palpable

The campus appears like an armed camp.  Throughout the campus there were uniform police walking in pairs or in fours.  They seemed to be everywhere and Harrison wills told me that the night of the campout, police were positioned on the roof of the campus.  Clearly police presence is the norm at SMC as our video surveillance cameras.  Posted alongside buildings and within them are notices in the form of plaques informing students they are under 24 hour constant video.

Intimidation and fear seem to ‘occupy’ the campus and many students told me that they felt they were under direct surveillance and even thought that their phones might be monitored.  Advance the Dream is being pushed from everyone from members of the ACLU, the college president and of course the for-profit colleges.

The Student Newspaper taken over by for-profit college ads

The SMC student newspaper is called the ‘Corsair’.  The Corsair is not owned by the corporatized campus.  Part of the revenue of the college comes from full or partially full page ads in the college paper from for-profit colleges like National University, DeVry and others.  These colleges have now taken over the revenue stream for the paper.

I have recently requested information about the paper (under the California Public Records Act) about its ownership and which colleges pay to advert5ise in the paper and how much is being paid for advertisements for the years of 2010, 2011 and 2012.

The Corsair also runs ‘college News stands’.  These are marquee stands that advertise by for-profit colleges.  They are all over campus and stand out like corporate bill boards.

What was amazing is that when I spoke to one of the student managing editors at the paper, he seemed to have no problem with for-profit colleges providing ads for a community college paper.  He defended the practice as ‘a revenue necessity’ and said anyone could advertise with the paper.  The presence of privatization seems to run so deep it is hardly even ‘seen’ by many students who attend the SMC.

Clearly the for-profit colleges know that students cannot get classes they need to graduate or transfer.  This is why they advertise, to sell education as a commodity to students who cannot otherwise get it publicly.  For a community college to allow these for profit predatory colleges to advertise so vividly and openly at a public college is testimony to the fact that privatization is being embraced by many forces on campus.

SMC administration committed to an access hierarchy

The administration of SMC is committed to an access hierarchy and privatization.  This is due to the fact as highly paid administrators and chummy Trustees they see their positions and power threatened if they do not make a deal with the forces of privatization.  This is what poses as invertebrate leadership at community colleges through California and throughout the nation.  It must stop.

Already the student cafeteria is privatized, the student garden was contracted out to privatizd forces for $250,000 when students requested they be allowed to build the garden, and many other services at the college have ben contracted out leaving only a public college in name only. 

Even the logo for the college has been changed for the cost of $110,000 to reflect the creeping corporatization of the college.  More insidious, is that the word “community” was taken out of the title “Santa Monica Community College” reflecting the fact that the coordinating class of highly paid administrators and corporate forces prefer the new ethics and philosophy of Ayn Rand and go-it-alone individualism than they do a philosophy of student/faculty solidarity, appreciation or diversity, participation in power, and equity in opportunity. 

Students at the college have told me that they are devoted to the struggle to protect SMC from the forces of further privatization.  They are busy conducting teach-ins to educate themselves about how their campus has served as a host for privatized forces.

May 12th meeting formed to stop the privatization of community colleges

The good news is that concerned citizens, teachers, students and others are committed to standing up against the for-profit colleges and privatization.  A meeting to begin to develop strategies to stop the privatization of community colleges is scheduled for May 12th in San Francisco.

It is essential that the privatization of education be seen as a package deal – from K-university.  Those parties working to fight off privatization in K-12 are highly encouraged to attend to ally their interests with those of us concerned about the privatization of community colleges, state colleges, the UC system and all forms of higher education.  The struggle is the same, the forces identical.

Called for by Students and Faculty from city College of San Francisco

112 Community Colleges serving 260,000 students in the State of California

Join us to discuss:

 • The Student Success Act (a series of legislative and regulation changes that will ration CCC education)

• The formation of a statewide student union

• Neoliberalism and student struggles around the world

Together we will build a statewide coalition of students, faculty and workers from California Community Colleges to assert our right to public higher education.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

9:00am to 5:00pm

CCSF Mission Campus
Valencia St., Between 22 and 23rd, San Francisco

Please register for this event at http://kccc.eventbrite.com/

info: CCSF Mission

Campus is accessible and public transportation available 24th St. BART, and MUNI lines 12,14, 14L, 48, 49, & 67.