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Chilean student activists hold control of at least seven schools in the country’s capital this morning, following street protests that saw 75 arrested and three city buses burned.

The students are seeking to reverse the privatization of the country’s educational system that took place under dictator Augusto Pinochet, the Associated Press reports, rejecting government proposals to expand scholarships and lower loan rates as inadequate:

Mass demonstrations initially raised expectations for profound changes but more than a year after the first protests few students have seen any real benefits. Protesters say the system still fails families with poor quality public schools, expensive private universities, unprepared teachers and banks that make education loans at high interest rates most Chileans can ill afford…

Student leaders say real change will only come when the private sector is regulated and education is no longer a for-profit business…

“If we’re coming to this extreme, this level of anger among students, it’s because this government has been unable to have a dialogue and give us any answers,” said Gabriel Boric, the president of the University of Chile student federation.

Student leaders met on Tuesday with Santiago mayor Pablo Zalaquett, who has threatened protesters with the loss of their academic scholarships, but the talks broke down after only two hours.

Running around today, but wanted to at least quickly follow up on the student protests in Sacramento and Albany yesterday.

The New York Times has a good overview of the Albany action. Excerpt:

About 300 students, most of them from public universities in New York, rattled the Capitol on Monday with an outburst of loud protests, in the gallery of the Senate Chamber and outside the governor’s office.

The students, part of a statewide coalition of campus organizations called New York Students Rising, were objecting to the tuition hikes that were approved last year under a measure that permits public universities in New York to increase tuition by up to 5 percent per year over the next five years. The research universities at Albany, Buffalo, Binghamton and Stony Brook are permitted an additional 3 percent tuition increase each year.

The bill also allows the universities to form partnerships with private corporations for development, a change that Alexi Shalom, a student atHunter College, said he feared would bring for-profit enterprises into the public universities.

“It’s a public university,” he said. “It’s supposed to be funded by tax dollars. We oppose corporations and big business being involved in our education.”

New York Students Rising, who mounted the protest, put together an exhaustive media roundup.

For Sacramento, Occupy Education CA had a liveblog and the Berkeley Daily Cal had a solid writeup:

As California Highway Patrol officers stood guard at the entrance of the state Capitol building’s rotunda Monday afternoon, protesters inside the building kicked off a 7-hour occupation that resulted in at least 72 arrests.

The occupation followed a rally on the Capitol building’s steps in which thousands of protesters from across the state called for lawmakers to end the recent trend of decreased funding to the state’s public higher education systems.

 Feel free to add links to additional coverage and analysis in comments.

 

Yesterday’s national action was the largest such day of coordinated campus protest since the Occupy Wall Street movement went viral last fall. But it was also the third early-March day of action to emerge from the national student movement that began with Occupy California two years earlier.

Occupy Wall Street has given the American student movement a boost, certainly. But in doing so it is merely returning a favor.

Yesterday student activists took to the Brooklyn Bridge in New York like Occupy Wall Street. They congregated in the park that was until recently home to Occupy Oakland, and marched from there to Morgan Stanley offices in San Francisco. They erected tents at UC Santa Cruz, and hung banners in the Massachusetts statehouse like last spring’s proto-OWS anti-Walker occupiers did in Madison. But they also took over administrators’ offices at DePaul University in Illinois and at UC San Diego. They also rallied for increased library hours at Harvard. They also held teach-ins at Ohio State, teach-outs at Berkeley, and a mock telethon for student debt at SUNY Buffalo.

And yesterday was no stand-alone event. Activists used Oakland’s Oscar Grant Plaza as the kickoff point for a 99-mile march to Sacramento, planning to arrive in time for a Monday occupation of the state capitol. That same day, students throughout New York will be descending on Albany for their own day of action.

#M1 has been described as a kickoff for the new semester, though there have been at least a dozen major campus actions in the US since January. It has been described as a reflection of an OWS “shift to the universities,” though OWS is as much the child of recent student activism as its parent. In reality, it was neither of those things. It was something quite different, and far more interesting.

It was just another day.

It’s four o’clock in the afternoon (ET), I’m back from teaching, and I’m picking up my liveblog of today’s national day of student action where I left off two hours ago. So far today we’ve seen one campus (UC Santa Cruz) essentially shut down by student protest, significant citywide marches several places, students rallying inside the Massachusetts statehouse, and other actions of various kinds at dozens of campuses from coast to coast.

The day is young, and there’s clearly a lot more to come. Stay tuned.

Friday Update: I’ve put together a summary/synthesis post on the day’s events here.

•          •          •

11:00 pm | That’ll do it for me for tonight. More thoughts tomorrow.

9:54 pm | UC Santa Cruz activists have re-opened one of the two UCSC entrances to vehicular traffic.

9:43 pm | Some of the Berkeley/Oakland activists have been occupying a state building in San Francisco. They’re currently being removed from the building, issued citations, and released.

9:34 pm | The DePaul occupation has ended, with the occupiers regrouping for new actions tomorrow.

8:38 pm | Having dinner. DePaul occupation still ongoing, reports of occupation of chancellor’s office at UC San Diego. More in a bit.

7:31 pm | Reports coming in of police presence at the DePaul occupation. Situation still unclear, but one tweeter says the occupation was “partially broken up by cops.”

7:22 pm | Two big non-#M1 campus stories today. In Arizona, a state legislator withdrew his proposal to require (nearly) all students to pay at least $2000 a year in tuition out-of-pocket, regardless of financial need. And in Virginia, more than a dozen UVA students ended a 13-day hunger strike after the university administration acceded to many of their living wage demands.

6:58 pm | There’s now a livestream of the Berkeley/Oakland demonstration out front of the Morgan Stanley offices.

6:44 pm | Tweet from inside the DePaul occupation: “We’re staying. Come to 55 e jackson right away-we need your support!!!!”

6:37 pm | The Oakland marchers who aren’t going to Sacramento are heading to Morgan Stanley.

6:30 pm | The Student Labor Action Project is in the early stages of compiling a photo album of today’s actions. Check it out.

6:28 pm | Marchers are setting out from Frank Ogawa Plaza in Oakland, heading for … Sacramento, 99 miles away. Background here.

6:13 pm | DePaul admin building occupation is settling in. Occupier reports that they “just voted unanimously to stay in this room until we get a date and time for a public forum with the entire student body.” He says there are about 45 people there at the moment, and that the university’s president met with them, rejected their demands, and left.

6:09 pm |Via Twitter comes word of a Seattle march on the Gates Foundation headquarters. That’s the seventh city march (along with NYC, Philly, Boston, Oakland/Berkeley, DC, Montgomery) I’ve learned of today.

6:05 pm | The DC marchers delivered a statement of grievances and demands to an official at the Department of Education, who promised a response by a week from tomorrow. That action is apparently now over for the day.

5:49 pm | Students and supporters from around the Bay area have congregated in Oscar Grant Park, the longtime home of the Occupy Oakland encampment.

5:22 pm | We apparently have our first campus occupation of the afternoon. According to tweeter Brad Hamilton (who posted a photo), students at DePaul University in Chicago have occupied administrative offices there, demanding a tuition freeze at the Catholic institution.

5:01 pm | Actions today aren’t confined to the campuses and regions you’d expect, as this photo of a sizable rally at the Alabama state capitol demonstrates.

4:58 pm | Six tents and the shell of a geodesic dome are up on the UCSC campus, but it’s not clear whether an occupation is planned.

4:42 pm | DC marchers have arrived at the Department of Education, where they have been denied entry by police.

4:37 pm | Bad weather appears to have depressed turnout on both coasts earlier today, but rain seems to be ending both in Northern California and the NYC area at this hour.

4:33 pm | UC Santa Cruz remains almost entirely shut down as a result of students’ blockade of the campus’s two entrances. A motorist who drove through a crowd of protesters earlier today was “briefly detained” but apparently not arrested.

4:30 pm | Bay area march now heading from Berkeley to Oakland. Students who had been at the Boston state capitol are marching to Harvard.

4:25 pm | The American Association of University Professors has been tweeting about #M1 events all day, mentioning chapter support for actions at Hofstra, the U of Akron, Indiana U, Stetson U, Lincoln U, Delaware State, Marymount Manhattan, Bowie State, the U of Delaware, St. Catherine U, and the U of Rhode Island.

4:21 pm | Tweet of the afternoon, from San Francisco State: “Stuck in class and can’t walkout? Tweet out and #occupysfsu will come save you.”

4:18 pm | The Washington DC action is currently outside the offices of student loan corporation Sallie Mae. The founder of http://occupystudentdebt.com/ is speaking to the crowd.

4:15 pm | The New York City march has been on the move for several hours. Size is estimated at several hundred.

4:06 pm | In addition to the Boston march which has ended in the statehouse, there are citywide marches confirmed in New York, Philadelphia, the Bay area, and Washington DC so far.

4:02 pm | Students are inside the Massachusetts state capitol in Boston, hanging banners.

A piece of legislation that would have required most Arizona public college students to pay $2000 a year in tuition fees out-of-pocket regardless of financial need has been withdrawn by its sponsor.

Students in Arizona have been fighting HB2675 since it was introduced a month ago, and its withdrawal comes just a week after it passed the AZ House Appropriations Committee in a narrow vote.

Arizona Students’ Association chair Dan Fitzgibbon called the win “absolutely thrilling” and a “picture-perfect illustration” of student electoral power.

About This Blog

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StudentActivism.net is the work of Angus Johnston, a historian and advocate of American student organizing.

To contact Angus, click here. For more about him, check out AngusJohnston.com.

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