Occupy Capitol Hill | All-night ‘teach in’ at Seattle Central

Some people around the Occupy Seattle camp at SCCC will seem a little bleary eyed Monday morning. Teachers from the American Federation of Teachers-Seattle, Local 1789, the union representing instructors at Seattle’s community colleges, announced an all-night “teach in” in support of Occupy Seattle:

Faculty from Seattle Central, South Seattle, and North Seattle Community Colleges will be teaching courses throughout the night at the Occupy Seattle encampment on Sunday, October 30, 2011, beginning at 9 p.m.

9 p.m. – 10 p.m.     “The Economic Reality” and “AFT Seattle’s history of activism.” Teachers:  John Burbank, Economic Opportunity Institute; Lynn Dodson, secretary of King County Labor Council; Richard Burton, political chair, KCLC.


10 p.m. – 12 p.m    “Community Service Organizations.”  Teachers: Rick Olguin and Carol Hamilton, faculty, NSCC.

12 p.m. – 1 a.m.   “Rhetoric of Martin Luther King’s “Letter from

Birmingham Jail.’” Teacher: Jeb Wyman, faculty, SCCC.

1 a.m. – 2 a.m.         “Lobbying the legislature.” Teacher: Karen Strickland,

                                    president, AFT-Seattle. 

2 a.m. – 3 a.m.         “Camera Techniques for Documenting Human Rights

                                    Abuses.” Teacher: Sandy Cioffi, faculty, SCCC.

3 a.m. – 4 a.m.       “Economics and Politics.” Teacher: Kshama Sawant,

                                    faculty, SCCC.

4 a.m – 5 a.m.          “The Art of Protest Signs.” Teacher: Don Barrie, faculty SCCC.

5 a.m. – 6 a.m.       “Labor History and the Psychology of Greed.”Teacher:

                                    Dove John, faculty, SCCC.                                                        

6 a.m  – 7 a.m.        “Crafting a Position Statement.” Teacher: Aryana

                                  Bates, faculty, NSCC.

The teach-in is organized by the American Federation of Teachers-Seattle, Local 1789 (AFT Seattle), representing 1000 teachers at local community colleges. Yesterday, AFT Seattle passed a resolution in support of Occupy Seattle’s plan to camp on the Seattle Central Campus.  

The intent of the teach-in is to demonstrate support for the Occupy Seattle movement, part of a national protest against the vastly increasing disparity of wealth, a political process manipulated by money, the shameful neglect of education in this country.  AFT Seattle believes the massive de-funding of higher education in Washington is undermining our prosperity, our society, and our democracy.

“We feel it’s vital to show the city–and the world–that the concerns of many faculty at our institutions resonate with the Occupy movement,” says Karen Strickland, president of AFT Seattle. “Our decision to endorse OS coming to Seattle Central is important. Several months ago we decided to launch our Enough Already campaign to raise awareness about the de-funding of our institutions.  The OS movement offers us an opportunity to move forward with our goals.”

The average income of the top 1% increased from around $500,000 in 1994 to 1,137,000 in 2008.  The average income of the 99% was $41,333 in 1994 and rose to only $43,372 in 2008, while student tuition has more than doubled ($432 in 1994, $910 in 2008, $1180 2011), and now covers 50.6% of the cost of their education, compared with 29% in 1994-1995.  

Several months ago AFT Seattle launched the Enough Already campaign to raise awareness about the catastrophic de-funding of Seattle’s community colleges.  Please see the Enough Already campaign website ( http://teacherswithspine.org/) for more information.

The decision to support the Occupy Movement follows Governor Gregoire’s announcement of an additional 15% cut to the community college budget, on top of a 17% reduction in state funding already taken this year.

While the SCCC President Paul Killpatrick initially rejected OS on campus due to concern about student access, AFT Seattle believes that our students’ access to an education has already been severely restricted due to budget cuts.  

The group also released a resolution in support of Occupy Seattle moving its camp to SCCC, below, as well as an “Addressing the College’s Concerns” document.

Whereas the economic recession continues for the 99% and has resulted in a decline in state funding for higher education, leading to ever-higher tuition such that students now pay 50.6% of the cost of community college education as compared with 29% in 1994, and

Whereas the vast majority, if not all, of the students of the Seattle Community Colleges are part of the 99% and struggle to remain in school due to too-high tuition (up 250% since 1994) and wage stagnation (0% increase since 1994) or long term unemployment, and

Whereas Seattle Community Colleges has already eliminated entire academic programs and slashed course offerings, and the wages of our faculty and staff have stagnated for years, and

Whereas AFT Seattle, Local 1789, exists in part to stand with other workers for the betterment of all and strengthen our ability to serve students and our community, and

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