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Universidades Luta! Brazil's Faculty and Students Stand Together

Brazil

Facing a two-front battle against Brazil's Sao Paulo state over funding and independence, students and faculty locked arms as one campus's strike spread to another, and to another. From a Reuters report:

Israel: Student Strike Ended

The National Union of Israeli Students has officially called off the student strike, with their executive board voting 62% in favor of the compromise offered by the Israeli Prime Minister's office. It took some time to actually vote, as no matter where the board tried to meet, they met throngs of rank-and-file students who urged them to vote to continue the strike. Arutz Sheva reports on the details of the compromise:

Tuition fees will be frozen for one year and the findings of the Shochat Committee will not be presented to the government for approval until first being discussed with representatives of the student union. In addition, the government will return billions of shekels to higher education institutions over a four-year period in what is tantamount to restoration of budget cuts over the past several years. [Full article here]

While the students didn't get everything they wanted, they did get a lot of it. Restored funding, a tuition freeze and a say in the Shochat recommendations. I think it's pretty clear that Israel's students would have gotten none of that had they simply played by the rules and "lobbied" the government. Direct action gets the goods, folks! The student union has shown the government and the world that it won't be pushed around. I for one will be drinking to the success of the Israeli students tonight.

However, questions remain, particularly in regards to how the decision to call off the strike was made. We know that plenty of students rallied to tell the executive committee to continue the strike, but what was the overall sentiment of the union's rank-and-file? I'd also like to know the process of getting chosen to serve on that committee. Finding that out is rather tough when one doesn't know Hebrew...

The Chronicle of Higher Education has a few more details about what transpired. It's subscription-only, so I've reposted the article below.

Atmosphere Still Tense in Israel Over Higher Ed

The 34-day nationwide student strike, which has brought Israel's universities to a grinding halt, looks to continue after a crucial round of negotiation between the student unions and the government's education committee. From the Jerusalem Post

News Roundup: 5/1/07 MAY DAY

Happy International Worker's Day, everyone! Go listen to The Internationale in the language of your choice to celebrate. On this most auspicious of radical holidays, one can't help but feel disheartened by the headlines...
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The Santiago Times: CHILE’S STUDENT MOVEMENT CRUMBLES AS LEADING SCHOOLS PULL OUT

In a sad turn of events, it looks like the Chilean student movement, that just one year ago was a beacon of inspiration to students the world over, has become little more than a hollow shell of its former self.

While the student movement looked to be losing momentum at the start of last year, it was in February that it really started to fall apart. Students were divided over whether to protest issues that were not strictly related to education – specifically, the poor management of the Transantiago. Regional representatives were particularly angered by the decision to protest, saying the decision was made without their consultation. [Full article here]

One can only hope that a) this is just an organizational hiccup, and/or b) the center-right Santiago Times is intentionally painting a bleak picture for political reasons. Hopefully there will be more to come on this.

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Looking back at Kent State

This week (specifically this Friday) marks the 37th anniversary of the Kent State shootings. However long ago it may have been, a new twist on the events of that day has come to light. A student then at KSU, was audio recording the protest, and it is claimed that an order to shoot was given (the FBI investigation into the event didn't come to a conclusion as to whether the order was given, or even who shot first).

"We think this is a troubling piece of evidence that was somehow overlooked," said Canfora, who planned to release CD copies of the recording Tuesday at a news conference at Kent State, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) southeast of Cleveland. "We're not seeking revenge or a new prosecution of guardsmen, we just want the truth."

Canfora said he could not identify the voice on the tape or say for certain that it belongs to a guardsman. The government should analyze the recording using new technology, he said.

Mark Wayda, spokesman for the Ohio National Guard, said Sunday he was unaware of the tape and declined to comment." [Full article here]

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Israeli students and teachers continue the fight

Students and teachers continue to strike and protest in opposition to the government-sponsored Shochat Committee on Higher Education's proposals to change education policy. Today, protests ended in violence, with police charging and injuring several students.

Student Union head Itai Shonstein said that 10,000 students attended the protest. “We will continue the struggle, continue to close down campuses, until we reach our goal,” he said. “The Prime Minister must come down from his ivory tower and meet with us immediately. If he doesn’t, we will set the whole country aflame.”

MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union) called upon Public Security Minister Avi Dichter to launch an immediate investigation into the police violence used to disburse the demonstrators.

MK Silvan Shalom (Likud) said that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert must get involved in diffusing the crisis before student strike measures escalate out of control.

The student struggle has led University administrations to consider canceling the current semester, as students have been boycotting classes for half a month already. A committee of university heads has already decided to lengthen the current semester.[Full article here]

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No news is bad news for all of us: The NewStandard closes its doors for good

One of my favorite sources for investigative journalism, The NewStandard, has sadly ceased publication. It was a collectively-run organization, which relied on donations and accepted no advertising money. Perhaps even more inspiring, their collective was run democratically, with balanced-job complexes.

The NewStandard was a unique online newspaper founded on the belief that the dominant model and methods of profit-focused news journalism have failed the public interest. Managed by a collective of journalists and published by a reader-funded, non-hierarchical nonprofit organization, TNS was committed to bold, hard-hitting daily news coverage, providing a vetted forum for the voices and issues often ignored in the establishment news arena.

Thankfully, all of TNS' articles are still available online here. They did fantastic work, and it's a shame to see them go.

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