The power elite of the nation recognized that something needed to change after students in the 1960’s utilized their unique positions in society to spur social reform. Business and political leaders have been acting ever since to transform higher education into a system that trains people to spread and maintain capitalist oppression. Historically, the missionaries and military would maintain division in society, but now it is the education institutions that efficiently train individuals to perpetuate social separation. By mentally training students to be triggered to cease dialogue, dominate it, or turn a blind eye to it, this reinforces state dependency. Our universities are training people to ignore, disregard and or destroy attempts to create support systems.
According to Noam Chomsky, the power of the 60’s student movements laid in the questions that students asked. Today, it is hard for students to develop good questions, or organize with their peers, when they are bogged down with debt, increasing tuition and living expenses, limited class selection and availability, bloated class sizes, patch work advising, overworked underpaid professors, and all around decreased quality of education. These problems particularly impact working, first generation, and undocumented students.
Big business has been allowed to treat public education like a private commodity meant for profit, and when the resources (students) which the market extracts and exploits, organize, business interests naturally respond using their influences in the state. Federal defense and education officials have been placed in high ranking education administrative positions across California. These appointments bring with them a skillset to preserve the status quo of the nation. They back it up with solid experience in neo-liberal hierarchy making universities resemble factory lines built for stomping out individuality and shaping identities and skillsets around specific market niches and institutional brands. This creates individuals that accept and perpetuate systems of domination intended to exploit and preserve wealth. Educational resources are being stolen and privatized, and students are being turned into indentured servants through systems of debt.
In accordance with the privatization narrative, in recent years, the administration of Humboldt State University has attempted to institutionalize, co-opt, defund, and destroy as many student and faculty run programs as possible. This has included a strategic take-over of the Student Union (now known as the University Center), the selling of a student owned bookstore to a private out of state corporation, the building of three new gymnasiums in accordance with a statewide fad, the raising of fees despite official student opposition, a coup and destruction of the Academic Senate (now known as the University Senate), misleading recruitment practices, a massive green-washing campaign, various intimidation techniques against faculty, staff, students, and community members, the black-listing of the student newspaper, Walmart styled employment practices, the cancellation, downsizing, and streamlining of academic departments, and a Southern California missionary styled institutionalizing architectural facelift. [Read More…]