Thursday, March 12, 2009

Vanderbilt Students Say 'No Cuts'

Vanderbilt students, workers, and faculty rallied today in front of Kirkland Hall to express its solidarity with its lowest-wage workers. Living Income for Vanderbilt Employees (LIVE), a Vanderbilt student organization, delivered a letter addressed to Chancellor Nicholas Zeppos asking him to guarantee there would be no layoffs for the next academic year. The request continued that if financial circumstances made job losses unavoidable that Chancellor Zeppos, “make a commitment to take a salary reduction within seven days of reaching such a determination.”

LIVE had been in active dialogue with Vanderbilt administrators, professors, and workers regarding the job security of Vanderbilt’s employees for months. LIVE member Ari Schwartz stated, “We are disappointed with the administration’s hesitancy to commit to guaranteeing the livelihood of all members of our community. With this is mind, we hope that a strong display of community support will compel the Administration to make clear and positive steps towards securing their jobs.”

Vanderbilt’s workers urged the community to continue rallying support behind their cause. Job loss, they said, would be devastating to all impacted workers. Vanderbilt custodian Dewayne Arbogast said, “Any layoffs would be devastating because there are simply no more jobs in this community. People would be in a situation where they would lose everything.”

Previously, LIVE, working alongside Vanderbilt Students of Nonviolence (VSN), gathered over 800 signatures from students and faculty in support of Vanderbilt workers in a petition stressing communal sacrifice over acute suffering. Despite public sentiment, Vanderbilt administrators denied requests to guarantee job security for its workers. With the public rally and delivery of a formal letter to Chancellor Zeppos, students, workers and faculty renew hope for security for low wage workers.

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