Though I’ve benefitted from it, I’m also critical of university practices and policies around community “engagement” in Detroit. That said, this legislation seems an attempt to block existing and potential relationships between grassroots organizations that are actually doing vital and vibrant work and the resources of supposedly “public” institutions. Please share and speak up. Respect. ~Gregg
Volunteers Needed! Help with Phone-Banking to Preserve the Rights of Non-Profits who Protest For-Profit Corporations in Michigan! Proposed legislation would prohibit these non-profits from collaborating with publicly funded universities.
What: Phone Banking to Protect Academic Freedom & Non-Profits’ Rights to Protest
Where: Detroit and Ann Arbor (Specific sites in both cities TBD)
Day/Time: Tuesday, May 15th, 12:30 pm – 5 pm (2 hours shifts with 30 minute training)
3 shifts to choose from:
12:30 – 2:30 pm
2 pm – 4 pm
3 pm – 5 pm
Why: The Michigan House of Representatives has adopted language in the higher-education appropriations bill which would prohibit public universities in Michigan from collaborating with any non-profit “workers center” whose documented activities include protest, demonstration, or organization against a Michigan business. Since there no generally accepted definition of a “workers center” exists, this language could potentially restrict a broad scope of civil rights, community-based, environmental, and other grassroots and non-profit organizations.
What’s the urgency?The Senate did not include this language in their version of the higher-ed bill, so as we move into Conference Committee, there is a good chance for this language to be eliminated. We expect the Conference Committee will meet on May 16thor shortly afterwards. It is critical to mobilize support before then.
We need 20 volunteers consistently phone banking throughout the afternoon of May 15th.
What kinds of organizations could be impacted?
An environmental organization protesting an incinerator spewing toxic waste into the atmosphere would be prohibited from working with public health students in a summer research program
A civil rights organization protesting a major corporation that discriminates in its hiring practices would be prohibited from working with a university’s civil rights institute
A church protesting a liquor store that sells cigarettes to minors would be prohibited from working with business school students to develop a business plan for a store that they would open and operate in their neighborhood