Ahead of primaries, adjunct faculty from across the country will converge in Florida to help organize voters to stand for tuition-free college, student loan forgiveness and $15 and a union for all campus employees
FLORIDA – This week, adjunct professors, students and community members will launch their Florida-wide #FreeCollegeNow bus tour in Orlando. The group, including adjuncts from Iowa, Georgia, Illinois, New York, North Carolina, California and other states, who were invited to the state by Florida faculty members, will travel from city-to-city with the goal of mobilizing voters in support of their demands for tuition-free college, student loan forgiveness and $15 and a union for all campus employees.
WHO: Adjunct professors from Florida and across the country, local students, fast food workers with the Fight for $15 and community members
WHEN: July 26 – August 2
TAMPA July 27, 4pm, Riverwalk
GAINESVILLE July 29, 2pm, Details Available Upon Request
JACKSONVILLE July 30, 2:30pm, Boardwalk
MIAMI August 1 Details Available Upon Request
WEST PALM August 2, 6pm, WPBF 25 Studios, Palm Beach Gardens
Years of austerity in Tallahassee have resulted in a broken higher education system that leaves too many in debt and poverty in Florida, participants say. It is ranked 50th among all states for funding of public services and has seen substantial cuts to education. Higher education funding has been cut by more than 23 percent from a decade ago, while tuition is up by 62 percent over the same period. Today, Floridians hold nearly $80 billion in student loan debt and adjunct professors are paid so little that many have to rely on government assistance.
While Florida has become a symbol of challenges in the higher education system, it has also become the center of a growing movement to organize for change. Over the last two years, adjunct professors at Hillsborough Community College, Broward College and University of South Florida have formed their unions. Faculty at Valencia College, Seminole State College and Miami Dade College recently filed for their unions and others are actively organizing across the state. These adjuncts, who are part of the growing SEIU Faculty Forward movement, have called on political candidates at the gubernatorial debate and town hall meetings in Tampa and Miami to commit to reinvesting in students and educators alike by supporting free college.
To build on this momentum and push for system-wide change, adjunct faculty from across the country were invited by local adjuncts to join their efforts to organize voters. Making stops in Orlando, Tampa, St. Petersburg, Gainesville, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, and Miami, adjuncts are organizing voters to pledge their support for candidates that support tuition-free college, student loan forgiveness and a minimum of $15 an hour and a union voice for all campus employees. Prior to the launch of the tour, adjuncts had already gathered 2,500 signatures on the pledge.
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