KCC students, staff take the future into their own hands
Thursday, November 22, 2018 at 10:56AM
Challenge_DesafĂ­o

BROOKLYN, November 21—At this year’s Progressive Labor Party College Conference, a PL’er told Kingsborough Community College students and staff that “we lead by taking matters into our own hands” (see college article). This KCC contingent didn’t waste any time jumping back into action as soon as classes began on Monday! And since then we’ve been talking about the possibility of a communist future.
Here KCC students who attended the Conference describe what they did.
All for one, one for all
On Monday morning, a freshman student came to our group and explained her problem. She’s a CUNY Accelerated Study in Associates Program(ASAP) student like me, which means our tuition and books are covered. Because ASAP sends the checks to our home, this student didn’t find it strange when she received one. Then the college told her they had overpaid her for ASAP and placed her on academic hold, preventing her from registering for classes next semester.
I see students like her all the time, shy or unsure of how to stand up for themselves. At Kingsborough, some staff test your patience. They ignore you and only help when they absolutely have to.
First we went to Financial Aid. They tried to make it sound like it was the student’s fault for cashing the check. We asked to work out a payment plan; they said no. The money would have to be immediately repaid. The whole point of ASAP is to help students who don’t have money to pay for college. We struggle to pay for basic expenses. What students who need ASAP have hundreds of dollars lying around for whenever the college makes a mistake? Next we went to the Bursar’s office. We were told there was nothing they could do, and told me to mind my own business.
Standing up is our business
After it was clear we weren’t going anywhere, the staff member took a waiver form and said “ok fine, let’s just do this.” Just like that, they wrote it out for half of the amount owed!  While she still has to pay back half, why did we have to go through all that?
I asked them that, and I demanded to know how many other students this “mistake” had happened to? Will they all be receiving these special waivers? Why are academic holds placed on students, affecting their futures, when it’s the college’s mistake? And why is it our responsibility to account for the college’s money? They had no answer.
I didn’t just stand up because she’s my friend. I did it because this is wrong and more of us need to stand up. We discussed it with friends who read CHALLENGE and went to the conference. This student has to write a short essay as a part of the waiver deal. We talked about turning her short essay into an open letter protesting the college’s “mistakes,” and posting it around campus.
Always bring a crowd
On Thursday, a student’s expensive laptop charger went missing during lab. Her friend said she witnessed who took it, maybe by accident. No one wanted police involved, but the office in charge of the lab completely ignored the students’ request to look into it. We discussed it and eight students and faculty supported the student by walking back to the office and demanding that phone calls be made and the issue followed up. We said we’d return and follow up on the situation next week.
A young Caribbean student new, to communist ideas, and a PLP member had just been reading a CHALLENGE article together and talking about what it means to be a communist on a day to day. We take matters into our own hands - and when we do, we bring a crowd!
Small struggles prepare us for larger battles
None of these struggles will end the war in Yemen, lift the siege of Gaza, end racist administrators or racist police terror. Not today! However if we build a communist movement, brick by brick, and struggle by struggle united we can put an end to these evils.
From small skirmishes for waivers to mass struggles like improving public transportation, we’re training ourselves to become the leadership we need to one day run the entire world.

Article originally appeared on The Revolutionary Communist Progressive Labor Party (http://www.plp.org/).
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