United Academics participated in a terrific lobby day in Salem on February 14th. The event, organized by Oregon’s Higher Ed Coalition (which consists of the Oregon Student Association, OEA, SEIU, AAUP, AOF, and AFT-Oregon) was focused particularly on the crisis of growing student debt, and the strong need to raise revenue in the state to ease financial burdens on students and on universities. We took part in a “Drowning in Debt” rally on the steps of the Capitol at noon, where students and their staff and faculty allies talked about the need for legislators to come up with a revenue bill that would make corporations pay their fair share. Our colleague Joe Lowndes (Poli Sci) spoke at the rally, encouraging the students to take direct action and assuring them of faculty support.
We met with staff and reps, including Phil Barnhart, to express the dire need for increased revenue. Each of our local Senators and Representatives received a bag of personalized candy hearts with slogans including “Love Educate Fund” and “Have a Heart.”