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Posts Tagged ‘protest’

Mansfield M Slasshing

Reposted from Raging Chicken Press

Earlier today, administrators at Mansfield University informed the local chapter of the faculty union, APSCUF, that they are planning on cutting approximately 29 of their 170 permanent faculty members – just over 17% of the permanent faculty. Like the recent announcements at Clarion and Edinboro —  two other Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) universities  — the cuts at Mansfield look to be deep and across the campus.

According to the information received by Raging Chicken Press, Mansfield University’s administration is seeking to cut permanent faculty in Applied Social Behavior; Biology; Business and Economics; Chemistry and Physics; Communications; Education; English; Geography; History, Philosophy, and Political Science; Math; Music; Psychology; and, the Library. As of this post, we have not seen a full copy of Mansfield’s workforce plan, so we are not yet clear when and if the administration will share such a plan with the public.

Faculty, staff, and students at Mansfield University should be aware, however, that the university’s Council of Trustees is meeting at 2pm today in the North Hall 6th Floor Community Room on the Mansfield University Campus. Presumably, the university president, Francis L. Hendricks and members of his administration will be presenting their plan for approval.

Meanwhile, about 2 1/2 hours away, East Stroudsburg University president, Marcia Welsh, indicated that her administration is marching toward retrenchment as well. In an email sent to the university community on Monday, Welsh said:

At this time, seven departments are in discussions regarding full or partial retrenchment:  Modern Languages, Music, Movement Activities and Lifetime Fitness, Chemistry, Physical Education/Teacher Education, Physics, and Counseling and Psychological Services. Another seven academic departments are in discussion regarding potential changes to tracts or concentrations that are currently under enrolled, and other options such as reducing elective courses, that could also result in possible retrenchment.  Please note that 26 departments are not involved in these discussions.  It is also important to note that if decisions are made to eliminate programs or majors, it means that new students will not be enrolled in those programs.  Currently enrolled students in any major under discussion will continue in their program and will be able to graduate from ESU in their major.  Students will NOT be forced to leave ESU…

…More on the strategic planning process can be heard on Wednesday at 2pm in the SciTech Niedbala Auditorium [that’s today!!!!] where I will explain what has already happened in the strategic planning process, and how you can get involved in this important discussion.

That’s right…2 1/2 hours away at the same time that Mansfield’s administration will be presenting its plan to cut 29 faculty to its Council of Trustees, ESU President Marcia Welsh will be making her austerity argument on ESU’s campus.

Those of you who care about public higher education near the Mansfield and ESU campuses  just might want to make your voices known today…loud and clear. For the rest of us, back to work trying to stop the austerity madness.

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Last night — actually, VERY early this morning — I was searching to see if there were any videos posted by media or individuals of APSCUF’s protest at the PASSHE Board of Governors meeting yesterday. One of my searches brought up a video interview I did for a project some of my colleagues did a couple years back: Union Stories: Kutztown. I did the interview on October 14, 2010, back when we were still working under our previous contract. Now, more than two years later and 19 months without a contract, the story I told in that interview still holds up…for the most part. After two rounds of deep budget cuts, having to fight like hell to prevent our local administration from gutting programs and faculty, and little promise that we can expect anything different for the near future, I hear the edge in my voice when I tell the short version of the story in the 2010 interview. I have a creeping feeling that I am trying to convince myself of something…or that my narrative no longer matches my experience. That’s hard to write, actually.

Coming across this interview was good timing in one respect at least. I was having a conversation with someone a week or so ago who wanted to know why having a union contract was so important to me. I got asked a version of that same question by a FOX 43 reporter yesterday at the APSCUF protest in Harrisburg: “What’s the big deal with working without a contract?” I’ve had versions of this conversation with scores of people over the 10 years I’ve been at Kutztown University. I can’t even begin to count the number of people that wondered why the hell I was going to take a job at Kutztown when I had other offers with lower teaching loads and, in one case, a significantly higher starting salary and in the city I lived in at the time. I had then and have now several reasons. But, one reason stands out above all the rest. I took the job at Kutztown because of the union, because of APSCUF. If Kutztown did not have a unionized faculty, I would have never taken the job. Period.

I’ve tried to make the case for several years that if our contract continues to erode, if our working conditions deteriorate even more, or if we strip away protections and quasi-equity for temporary faculty, then Kutztown – PASSHE as a whole – will not be able to hire AND KEEP quality faculty. We will go elsewhere. That’s sad and infuriating to me. It’s an injustice to the student body we teach and to the mission of the 14 universities that make up PASSHE. But that’s the game that the Chancellor, the Chair of PASSHE Board of Governors, and PASSHE as a whole is playing. They want to strip away quality and leave in its place a degree factory – a State-owned version of ITT Tech or the University of Phoenix.

When I watch my “Union Stories” video now I am keenly aware of why I chose to come to Kutztown, why I am fighting like hell to protect and secure a good contract for ALL faculty, and why I may ultimately end up having to leave. But the game is not up yet and the fight is not lost yet. So, back to work. Here’s the video:

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For those of you who don’t know, in the spring of 2011 I launched a progressive media site called Raging Chicken Press. While I described the site as a “side project,” it is really more of a place where my teaching and scholarship meet in practice.  For example, this semester I am teaching ENG 316 Rhetoric, Democracy, Advocacy and next semester I will be teaching a Special Topics class ENG 390 Activists Writing Media: Composing Democratic Futures. I’ve published on activist rhetoric in  Democracies to Come – co-authored with Rachel Riedner of the George Washington University, as well as articles on “Viral Advocacy” in Reflections: A Journal of Public Rhetoric, Civic Writing, and Service-Learning and rhetorics of labor advocacy in Seth Kahn and JongHwa Lee’s fantastic collection, Activism and Rhetoric. I’ve always had the need to do more than teach and write about rhetoric. I’ve found it critical to also be a practitioner. In fact, I would argue, my teaching, scholarship, and practice are all intimately related and in dialogue. Raging Chicken Press has been my latest site of practice and it has taken off faster than I could have imagined.

Last week I launched a new series called “Smashing Apples: Shock Doctrine for Public Education.” The series focuses on the attacks upon public education in PA and across the region and nation. I wanted to let readers of the XChange know for a couple of reasons. First, I am always looking for new writers, photographers, videographers, cartoonists, and podcasters interested in contributing to the site. Given APSCUF’s continuing contract fight, I thought there might be some of you out there who have got some things to say, and who are looking for a place to say it. While our APSCUF-KU efforts are currently focused on letters to editors and to the Board of Governors and Chancellor, Raging Chicken Press might give you a space to contribute in different ways.

Second, I wanted to let you know of some of the articles we have recently published in which you may be interested. Here you go:

Hope you find some these articles compelling and if you’re mad as hell and can’t take it any more, consider submitting to the Raging Chicken

 

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With the increasing numbers of submissions to Raging Chicken Press, we’ve been thinking of expanding our publishing schedule from once a month to twice a month. If you’ve been following the going-ons in our little corner of activist media, you know that I’ve been batting around the idea of doing an “Early Edition” at the beginning of each month. Well, here’s our first crack at it. As you’ll see, this “Early Edition” has fewer contributions, but if we continue to get the kind of submissions we’ve been getting, we might just try publishing full editions twice a month. Frankly, the only thing that is holding us back from doing so at this point is the work load. And, yes, that sentence is a segue to a call for aspiring activist journalists, videographers, editors, podcasters, and social network enthusiasts to c’mon out and join us Raging Chickens. At this point, we’re all volunteers and we can use whatever skills you bring to the table. Interested? Drop me a line at ragingchickenpress@gmail.com.

Here’s the contents for the May Early Edition:

If you’re still thinking about contributing to the May issue of Raging Chicken Press, remember the deadline for submissions is this Thursday, May 10th. It looks like we’re in good shape to go ahead and publish the May issue on the 15th.

The Never-Ending Fundraising Drive

There are 52 days left in this round of our fundraising drive. The good news is that as of this writing we’ve raised $515.00! A little side-note to all of you who contributed so far, you’re thank you gifts will be on their way very soon. After several unexpected setbacks, I got a package this week with stickers, mugs, t-shirts, and more to send out to all of you awesome Raging Chicken supporters.

The less good news is that we’ve only raised about 2% of our goal. It’s been a learning experience for sure. I could not be happier with the amazing work we’ve been able to do with next to no resources (other than those that come out of my pocket). However, we’re growing fast and are hitting the limits of what we can afford to do. For example, one of our writers is doing some pretty amazing investigative research on fracking out in Western Pennsylvania. He’s been able to do some great work over the phone and email, but we’d like to be able to send him out there for a few days with a video camera and recorder to talk to the affected families. Imagine if Raging Chicken Press had the resources to cover some of the costs of this kind of investigative research. Pretty cool. My goal from the beginning of this project was to appeal first to the progressive community directly for support. The idea was that the more that this project is funded by individual members of the progressive community, the more we can ensure it will always be for the progressive community in a very concrete way. We recognize that not every progressive out there has the time or ability do the kind of work we are doing here. But we can build a networked community of contributors and donors to help strengthen our movements.

It’s clear that I’m going to have to rethink how to best fund this project for the long haul. I am wide open for ideas and help! Let me know if you’ve got some ideas for raising funds. I’ve been looking at some grants, starting a membership program, and approaching some regional, progressive organizations directly. We’ll see what comes of it all.

Shop Progressive and Support Raging Chicken Press

Another very easy AND FREE way you can help support what we do is to use the links on the right-hand sidebar to do all your Amazon.com, fair-trade coffee, and book shopping. Use the search boxes or click through and shop as your normally would. You will have the same experience as if you went to the sites directly. The only difference is that part of your purchase, generally 4-8%, will go directly to Raging Chicken Press. Even better, bookmark the links and use that bookmark every time you shop.

Here’s three links that you can start using right now to help support what we do:

I want to put in a special plug for the Shop Indie Bookstores link. Here at Raging Chicken Press, we are now using this site for buying all of our subscriber give-away books. The Shop Indie Bookstores link not only allows you to buy from Independent, non-chain bookstores, you can choose to shop local. That’s key. For example, we’ve bought several books directly from the Doylestown Bookstore using the Shop Indie Bookstores link. Why does that matter? Well, here’s the persuasive case made by Indiebound.org:

When you shop at an independently owned business, your entire community benefits:

The Economy

  • Spend $100 at a local and $68 of that stays in your community. Spend the same $100 at a national chain, and your community only sees $43.
  • Local businesses create higher-paying jobs for our neighbors.
  • More of your taxes are reinvested in your community–where they belong.

The Environment

  • Buying local means less packaging, less transportation, and a smaller carbon footprint.
  • Shopping in a local business district means less infrastructure, less maintenance, and more money to beautify your community.

The Community

  • Local retailers are your friends and neighbors—support them and they’ll support you.
  • Local businesses donate to charities at more than twice the rate of national chains.
  • More independents means more choice, more diversity, and a truly unique community.

We’re certainly convinced. So, next time you’re thinking about ordering a book online, picking up a good read for a gift, ordering textbooks for school, or downloading an eBook (yes, Indies do eBooks too!), consider going Indie and going local. And, to ge the most bang for your buck, use our Shop Indie Bookstores link and support Raging Chicken Press while you support your local community.

A Note on the May Issue

I think you’re going to really dig the full May issue. We’ve got some great interviews and articles that remind us that the month of May begins with May Day–International Workers’ Day. The Occupy Movement organized actions around the country, which seemed to be the opening shots of an American Summer. We plan on being there as actions over the summer heat up. Let us know what you will be doing to fight back.

Bread and Roses,

Kevin Mahoney
Editor Zero, Raging Chicken Press

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On St. Patrick’s Day the March issue of Raging Chicken Press hit the networks. If you missed the release, you can still check it out! As you’ll see, the March issue is fracking heavy (pun intended).

So, check it out; I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. And while you’re checking out the issue, why don’t you consider to contributing to the April issue? The deadline for the April issue is Wednesday, April 11th. I want to make a special call for articles on the PA budget. While the March issue is pretty packed with great stuff, I feel there is a notable lack of coverage of the budget. PA Governor Corbett has proposed a budget that will bring many long-standing public institutions in PA to the brink of destruction. So, you’ve got about a month! I hope you’ll consider submitting. Got something to get off your chest? Peace to speak? Ax to grind? You might just have found an ally.

Bread and Roses,

Kevin Mahoney
Editor Zero, Raging Chicken Press

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It seems like getting the February issue out took FOREVER! I don’t know if that’s what it felt like for all of you out there, but it was certainly my experience. But, the important thing is that it’s out!  And, it’s kind of cool that we published the February issue on the one year anniversary of the first mass protest of the Wisconsin Uprising against governor Walker’s attack on working families. We are STILL Badgers! I’ll give you a little sense of what’s been going on behind the scenes; but, for the moment, here’s what you’ll find in the February issue:

Reminder: Subscribe and Be Entered in the RCP Monthly Give-Away!

I want to make sure to remind everyone out there to subscribe to Raging Chicken Press. If you subscribe by Monday, February 20th, you will be entered in this month’s Subscriber Give-Away! This month’s Give-Away includes two books hot off the presses: John Nichols’s book, Uprising: How Wisconsin Renewed the Politics of Protest from Madison to Wall Street and regular contributor to Raging Chicken Press, Lee Camp’s new book, Moment of Clarity: The Rantings of a Stark Raving Sane Man. All you need to do to subscribe is to enter your email in the subscription form on the right-hand side of the page. Subscribing doesn’t cost you a thing, but it does ensure that you will receive notifications of all new Raging Chicken Press content right in your inbox. Really, can you think of a downside?

Fundraising Campaign: Can You Help? 

I’ve been squawking about this for a while now, but we’re into the thick of it now. Twelve days ago, we launched our first ever fundraising drive on a web platform called WePay. We are attempting to raise $25,000. Yes, that’s what I said, $25,000. I’ve gone back and forth as to whether I should even try to raise this kind of money at this point. It’s a lot of money, I know. But, here’s the deal. I’ve said from the very beginning that I am building Raging Chicken Press for the long haul and I intend on building it in away that is both realistic and sustainable. That is, up until this point Raging Chicken Press exists on whatever money I can stash away, sales in the Raging Chicken Press store, and the affiliate programs we are using. While these sources help, they are by no means sufficient for developing a serious progressive, activist media site.

The $25,000 number comes from thinking about what I’d like to do with RCP in the next few years and what it would take–financially–to make that happen. I’ve talked about some of these projects before, but here’s a flavor of the kind of things I think Raging Chicken Press can do if we get the support:

  • Annual Best of Raging Chicken paperback book and eBook, featuring the best articles of the year. Ideally, we can have the first edition ready for our one year anniversary in July.
  • Three paid internships a year: 1) a fall internship on issues in PA public and higher education; 2) a spring issue focusing on PA policy and budget issues; and, 3) a summer internship on PA environment and sustainability.
  • “Broadside” editions of each issue of Raging Chicken Press to be distributed to regional coffeehouses, bars, hangouts, etc.
  • Annual presence at the PA Progressive Summit and Netroots Nation.
  • Payment for contributors to Raging Chicken Press based upon similar progressive publications’ payment structures.
  • Press passes for Raging Chicken Press reporters.
  • Promotional materials including a banner, fliers, and Raging Chicken Press swag.
  • Shifting t-shirt sales from our Zazzle.com store to locally produced, union printers (the issue here is that in print t-shirts locally in unionized shops, we need to buy larger quantities of shirts and to keep stock on-hand. Buying large numbers of shirts is a chunk of change).
  • Establishing a brick-and-mortar presence on Main Street (or close to it) in Kutztown as a base of operations, meeting space, and store front for t-shirts, buttons, posters, books, and other progressive materials.

This is not a comprehensive list, but representative of some of the major initiatives I’d like to move on in the very near future. Some of these items will require on-going fundraising and grant applications (which I am also working on). The brick-and-mortar presence is a perfect example an initiative that needs up-front money AND a fairly predictable budget.

There is an additional reason for beginning a fundraising drive at this point. I’ve wanted to avoid having to go the advertising route as a way of sustaining Raging Chicken Press. I think the potential strength of this project is dependent upon a decision progressives in our communities deciding to support the development of this progressive, activist media site. In short, I need to know if progressives in PA and beyond believe this project is worthwhile. Are you willing to help build this site? Do you think it is valuable to build progressive alternatives to mainstream media? Do you think it is valuable to have media site that gives progressive writers, videographers, podcasters, artists, and activists an outlet for their work? Those are questions that I don’t have the answer. I need to know from you: Can you help? Can you help build a regionally focused progressive, activist media site?

You can contribute any amount over $2. EVERY LITTLE BIT HELPS! We hope that there are enough of us out there who want to join with us to help build progressive media alternatives. I, for one, think we are going to need it.

Call for Submissions for March Issue

Yeah, I know we just published the February issue, but I’d like to get a jump-start on the next issue. Give the deep cuts being proposed by PA governor Tom Corbett and the ramping up of the election cycle, I want to put out the call for the March issue sooner rather than later. Here’s the deal:

Deadline for Submissions for March Issue: Saturday, March 10th. 

If you think you’ve got something to send our way, check out our submission guidelines. If you still have questions, drop me an email at ragingchickenpress@gmail.com.

Wrapping Up for Now

I’m going to leave things there for now. There are a couple more things that I want to tell ya, but this post is long enough already. I will say that I will be looking for your input for the 2011 Best of Raging Chicken Press book pretty soon! Look for your chance to help pick which Raging Chicken Press articles will make it into our first-ever “Best of” book!

Bread and Roses,

Kevin Mahoney
Founder and Editor Zero, Raging Chicken Press

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Raging Chicken Press Ready to do Battle, But We Need Your Help

Earlier today PA Governor Tom Corbett, announced a 20% cut to PA’s 14 campus State System of Higher Ed. Cuts to the state-related institutions (Penn State, Temple, Pitt, and Lincoln) are looking at close to 30% cut. That’s after a 25% cut to PASSHE last year.
That’s not all. $320 million cut to the Department of Public Welfare, cutting 650 state jobs, and continued million dollar handouts to corporations — NOT small businesses. The attack is here AGAIN.

Raging Chicken Press was founded to cover activists’ responses to these kind of attacks to working people and the commons. We are here to amplify, agitate, and activate. But we need your help to build this progressive media movement.

I know people are strapped and uncertain about the future. But I’d like to ask you to consider contributing whatever you can to our fundraising drive. Even small donations of $5, $10, $25 helps sustain independent, progressive, activist media. Together we can turn the tide against these attacks by Corbett and his fellow slash and burn corporate-sponsored politicians across the country.

Please consider donating. We are fighting for our future. Click the link below to learn more.

https://www.wepay.com/donations/raging_chicken_press_fund

Bread and Roses,
Kevin Mahoney
Founder & Editor, Raging Chicken Press

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