Report on the Ottawa Retreat

January 1, 2005

This report was drafted by Mishy Leiblum and Jed Murr, retreat participants from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Photos by Ben Manski. The retreat was a project of the Liberty Tree Foundation for the Democratic Revolution's Democratizing Education Program.

The Background -- Higher Education Organizing in the US and Canada: US campuses are home to a variety of single-issue organizations (often focusing on issues not overtly tied to colleges and universities) that primarily appeal to the undergraduate sector, while graduate students, faculty and other campus workers are predominantly organized through a variety of national and international labor unions, or through independent organizations outside of the campuses on which they work. Although some undergraduate students are linked at the state level via state student organizations and at the national level through the USSA (the United States StudentAssociation), the USSA, state student associations, and student government associations on individual campuses have not typically been able to gain prominence or power on the local or national level in the way that Canadian student organizations have been able to. (Continued)