Statement ratified by Assembly of Stewards on 20 April 2017
A Call for May Day Moratorium on University Operations
We face a moment of great uncertainty. Elements of the social safety net and basic rights provisions are being rescinded and amended more swiftly than they can be challenged through traditional legal and legislative interventions. Millions of immigrants live under daily threat of separation from their families and communities by intensified ICE raids.
Many of the attacks we face directly affect the university. The arts, humanities, and sciences face not only funding cuts but an assault on the concept of free inquiry itself. Climate change data is being removed from the public domain, university budgets are being held hostage by state governments and the threat of political retaliation by the federal government, white supremacists have been emboldened to commit hate crimes on our campuses, and basic facts have diminishing import in the national debate.
May Day 2017 will be a day of struggle against the Trump administration and the structural conditions under which it originated. A day in which workers across the country, waged and unwaged, will march, rally, and make their voices heard against the sexism, racism, xenophobia, and homophobia of this administration and against the global system of production that makes it possible. This charge will be led by immigrant workers, hundreds of thousands of whom have already pledged to strike, with several hundreds of thousands more expected, in what could be one of the largest strikes in US history.
We call on the administrators and faculty of New York University to live up to the promise of higher learning by halting business as usual on May Day as an act of solidarity. While the nation’s workforce pauses us to engage in a day of action, universities must pause as well; for staff, adjuncts, and student workers on our campuses know well the severity of neoliberal policies and the precarization of work conditions, while students are already facing the terror of ICE raids.
We call on the administrators and faculty of New York University, and of universities nationwide, to engage in a moratorium on university operations this May Day so that students, staff, and faculty – domestic and international, documented and undocumented – can engage in a day of demonstrations and teach-ins in solidarity with A Day Without Immigrants. We call on university administrators and faculty to cancel classes, close offices, and postpone maintenance to allow everyone in the university community to demonstrate our solidarity with immigrant workers and our support for thoughtful strategies of resistance.
Graduate Student Organizing Committee (GSOC-UAW Local 2110)
*A Note on Worker Rights and Responsibilities on May Day: The call for May Day is to call upon the university administrators to cease university operations. We are not calling on our members to refuse to perform work. Any individual grad student may exercise their right to participate in the events of the day as a matter of individual conscience and free expression.