To: The United States House of Representatives, The United States Senate, and President Donald Trump

Resist! Higher Education is a Public Good, NOT a Private Commodity

Higher Education is under assault in the Age of Trump. With over $1.4 Trillion in outstanding student debt looming on the backs of borrowers, states continuing to disinvest from higher education, as well as threats to the civil rights of students, it’s time to take a stand and reaffirm what it means to be a progressive who supports higher education in this new, uncertain era. Add your name to support higher education as a public good, rather than a private commodity.

Why is this important?

We, the undersigned, stand in solidarity with the principle that higher education in America should be considered a public good, rather than a private commodity.

We believe that solutions should immediately be found to the growing crisis of over $1.4 Trillion of existing student debt. Higher education benefits society as a whole, not just individual students, and because it has proven to boost our economy, it is imperative that we ease the burden of student debt so that every hard-working American can afford college. Those solutions should include student loan forgiveness, expansion of existing federal repayment plans and expansion of consumer protection laws that protect borrowers. This looming crisis needs to be addressed - and it needs to be addressed now.

We believe that we need to reform the ways in which higher education is paid for in America. Wall street continues to play too large a role in the financing of higher education, while states continue to play too small a role. It’s time that states reaffirm their commitment to funding higher education across the country by reinvesting in this all-too-important public good and getting Wall Street out of higher education.

We believe that everybody, regardless of background, geography, or financial status, should have equal access to quality, affordable higher education. All too often, where you come from or how much your parents earn, determines whether you can obtain a higher education. In 2017 America, there has got to be a better way. We should obtain this goal through debt-free college for all immediately, eliminating these barriers to obtaining a higher education.

We believe in protecting the rights of all Americans on college campuses, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity. Equal rights means equal rights for ALL. We support the right of minorities to protest and to make their reasonable demands for equality heard. Whether we’re talking about protesting the Trump Administration’s recent immigration ban targeting people of the Muslim faith or the renewed focus on limiting the rights of transgendered people to use the bathroom of their choice, we believe that college campuses should be free spaces where everyone’s rights are protected and respected. We also believe that faculty have the right to speak out against these policies without fear of retribution.

Finally, we believe in fair pay and a union voice for faculty, researchers and all staff. Access to quality, affordable higher education is wholly dependent on access to well-paid staff whose workplace rights are protected.

We believe that this is what it means to be a progressive who supports higher education in America in 2017. We implore lawmakers to thoughtfully consider our demands and to legislate and regulate accordingly.