Northland College Students Fight Campus Worker Layoffs

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by Adam Ritscher / December 2006 issue of Socialist Action Newspaper

ASHLAND, Wis.—Last year, the Northland College administration attempted to replace the college’s night watchmen with a private, contracted security firm. Student outcry was so strong and immediate that the administration backed down.

The victory, though, proved to be short lived. Beginning this summer, the administration again began moves to farm out the security of the campus to a private firm. One of the night watchmen quit over the summer after word spread that layoffs would be coming.

Upon getting word of this new treacherous move by the administration, students responded by drawing up a series of demands and organizing a sit-in at the president’s and the administration offices.

The college agreed to negotiate with the students. The end result was a signed agreement in which Northland agreed to consult students and faculty on any future lay-off plans, to produce a summary of the “secret” contract that the college has signed with the new private security firm, that this new security firm not be allowed to harass Native Americans at the college’s annual Pow-Wow—as they did last year—and that all of the laid-off night watchmen be guaranteed alternative employment at Northland.

While, unfortunately, Northland has gone ahead and contracted with this new private security firm, jobs were saved due to the mobilization of the students, and the administration was forced to back down on a number of fronts. We salute the Northland College students on their victory!

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