Student walkout protests teacher cuts

On May 11, 100 students at Plum High School in a Pittsburgh suburb walked out of classes to protest a proposed budget that would eliminate teachers, cut middle school programs, impose a fee on students for extracurricular activities, end foreign language, music and art classes and cut at least one elementary school guidance counselor. “I’ve already been threatened with suspensions, but I don’t care,” said Jared Snodgrass, 17, a junior who organized the protest. “This is for a bigger cause.”

National campaign dumps prison industry

After a yearlong campaign led by students, graduate teachers, faculty and community members, Farallon Capital Management, a hedge fund that manages many college and university endowments, has divested from Corrections Corporation of America, a private prison company cited for prisoner abuse. The campaign began at Yale University and was coordinated by the Yale Graduate Employees and Students Organization, a leader in the national movement to unionize graduate students. “This is a major victory for the values of higher education,” said GESO member Sarah Haley.

‘Lavender graduations’ boost LGBTQ pride

Many campuses are organizing receptions and award programs called “lavender graduations,” honoring lesbian, gay bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning students. This year, lavender graduations are being held on more than 50 campuses, up from just a handful a decade ago. “Such an event shows commitment to the LGBTQ student,” said Shane Windmeyer, founder of Campus Pride, a national LGBTQ youth organization.

Students say ‘HMO profiteer’ contradicts university values

Students picketed UnitedHealth CEO Bill McGuire’s May 20 commencement speech at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn. Calling McGuire a corporate “HMO profiteer,” the students said his billion-dollar stock option fraud contradicts the university’s mission to serve the public interest. “We need a single-payer system: one common pool administered by an accountable, public, single payer,” said a press release.

Compiled by Pepe Lozano (