Northland College Students Fight Campus Worker Layoffs

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!

Related Articles


What the report did not say was why all the 376 officers failed to carry out their duty May 24. There is only one plausible explanation — racism — because the victims were primarily Latino. Texas is run by an ultra-right racist, sexist Republican administration. Uvalde, a town of 16,000 people, is closer to the Mexican border than the nearest large city, San Antonio. Texas, as well as federal law enforcement, is mobilized against any immigrant asylum seekers who manage to cross the border. They use force when necessary.

Joseph Ryan, Revolutionary Socialist, 1944-2022

His companion Ellen summarized his life well and donated Joe’s extensive Marxist library to Socialist Action. She wrote: “To the memory of Joseph Ryan who never gave up in his belief that the working people of the world would one day prevail.”

Teachers Resist “Back to School” Orders

Under increasing pressure from state and federal authorities, schoolteachers across the United States are embroiled in a life and death struggle over the terms and conditions of re-opening the nation’s schools for the 2020-2021 year.