Below are my comments to Illinois Gov. Rauner in support of Monetary Award Program (MAP) financial aid for Illinois students attending universities in the state.
Dear Gov. Rauner,
I’m a professor at DePaul University in Chicago. In fact, I just joined the faculty at DePaul this fall and moved to Illinois a few months ago. I have been surprised during my first term as a university professor to have students come to me saying that it’s a struggle for them to buy approximately $25 in books for my class, students from Illinois.
Attending college is my students’ opportunity to improve their economic situation long-term and the future prospects for their families as well. In my short time here in Illinois I’ve also be continually impressed by how hard my students work – juggling paid work, often full-time with attending classes and doing out-of-class school work.
Investment in Illinois students attending university in the state is an investment in the future of this state. I personally had the life-changing opportunity to come here to the state to work and live, in large part because I was able to further my education. I’d like that for my students. Please invest in Illinois university students and support funding for MAP Grants. Don’t let the budget stalemate hold back Illinois students from pursuing their dreams.
Jill Hopke, Ph.D.
More information on the MAP grant program is available on the DePaul University website here.
Today, July 18, 2014, is the deadline to submit first round comments on the Federal Communication Commission’s proceeding 14-28 on the open Internet, commonly referred to as the principle of net neutrality. Net neutrality is, according to Google:
noun: net neutrality; noun: network neutrality
the principle that Internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favoring or blocking particular products or websites.
To submit comments, go to http://www.fcc.gov/comments or send an email to email@example.com . If you miss today’s deadline, a second round for reply comments will be open until September 10, 2014.
July 17, 2014
Dear FCC Commissioners:
I am writing to submit a comment regarding proceeding 14-28, “Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet.” Over the past 25 years the World Wide Web has had profound impacts on social relationships, learning, and entertainment, as well as political and civic life. Online platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, have become the public squares of the 21st century. According to statistics from the Pew Research Center, 87% of of adults in the United States use the Internet, while 53% of Internet users say giving up the Internet would be hard to do. Those numbers are posed to increase, as is the proportion of Internet users going online from mobile devices.
Given trends such as these, it is incumbent upon the FCC to treat broadband access as a public utility, like access to the airwaves in the 20th century, and ensure such access continues to be regulated in the public interest. I urge you to keep the 2010 transparency rule in effect and ban paid prioritization, so-called “fast lanes.” In principle all content providers (i.e. websites and applications) should have equal access to consumers. Anything else would have negative impacts for technological innovation and the growth of today’s startups and those of the future that will serve needs we can not yet predict.
“To create is to resist. To resist is to create.”
Stéphane Hessel (1917-2013)
I learned this morning of the passing of Stéphane Hessel, World War II French Resistance fighter who authored Indignez-Vous! (Time for Outrage!), a manifesto to outraged, to act in face of often overwhelming injustices.
Hessel was interviewed by Democracy Now! (aired October 10, 2011) on Time for Outrage! and Occupy Wall Street:
Hessel, like other public intellectuals of his generation, gave voice to a sense of hope rooted in the horrific experiences of war and its aftermath. His writing, as well as the trajectory of his life embodied a sense of urgency to action in light of global crisis, be it war, attacks on human rights, man-made ecological disaster.
The standard by which we judge what is social responsibility is lowering. Social services, such as Medicare and social security benefits, should not be framed as “entitlements.” As Hessel so eloquently states, we all do better when we chose as societies to protect the rights of minorities, provide basic social and health services for everyone, when we think about economic development in terms of long-term environmental sustainability. Continue reading
Our union is at a critical juncture. The next year will be a pivotal moment in the TAA’s history. We have fought hard over the course of the last year against the attacks on our rights to have a voice in determining our working conditions and higher education funding in this state. Our union is still strong, but the fight is far from over. We need to get Scott Walker out of office this June and work to rebuild what the right-wing has dismantled in the past 16 months.
The university works because we do. We are the voice for graduate student employees and for all graduate students who desire tuition-remitting employment. As graduate assistants, we teach almost half of all the lectures, discussions and labs combined on campus and are integral to the university surpassing the $1 billion mark in research expenditures for the first time in 2010 (data from the UW-Madison Data Digest 2010-2011).
The fight back against cuts to higher education. At the same time that UW-Madison is ranked 27th among universities globally, in the past year we have seen unprecedented cuts to funding for the university’s basic educational mission. Within this context, we need to do a better job at articulating why we are better off advocating together for fair working conditions and draw connections to undergraduate learning.
It has been quite a year in Wisconsin and I am proud to have lived in these times. It has not been a moment to stand on the sidelines of history.
We have lost much but I believe over the course of the coming years will gain much more in terms of social progress. Here is an excerpt of a blog post I authored for Defend Wisconsin:
A year ago the system of social trust in Wisconsin began to come unraveled. Today marks the one-year anniversary of Gov. Walker’s announcement of the Budget Repair Bill, now Wisconsin Act 10, effectively ending 50 years of public sector collective bargaining rights.
I believed a year ago that we would “kill the bill.” I believed if we made our voices heard, we could appeal reason on the part of lawmakers. If we spoke about the hardships this bill would cause around the state for families, for students, for ordinary Wisconsinites that go to work everyday with faith in the system, our government would listen to us. Continue reading