Break the Chains of Shame!
Wear your debt! 

http://wearyourdebt.tumblr.com

Thank you to http://punkpatriot.com for designing these flyers and OccupyGraduation.net for providing funding for OccupyUSM’s occupied graduation!

This Friday, June 22nd, Night of the Living Debt!

Greetings,

All in the Red, an activist collective based in NYC which focuses on issues around student debt, would like to reach out to you and request presence of the activists at Wear Your Debt at our next event: Night of the Living Debt:http://www.facebook.com/events/125909070874588/!

‘Night of the Living Debt’ is all about shining a light on the current injustices of the higher education financial system in a theatrical and visible way. People are not often confronted with a visual of how debt is affecting the entire country and we need to change that. 

This Friday (the 22nd) at 7pm, we are planning to do a theatrical speak-out, featuring Rev. Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping, before the march heads off from Washington Sq. Although it is short notice, we would absolutely love for you to join us and, if possible, bring any costumes or props, such as the awesome balls & chains used in recent actions, in order to add to the theatrics of the event. 

We are trying to mobilize a mass student movement for the fall (inspired by the Quebec student strikes) and need your help. I t is vital that there continues to be mass visibility of these issues. Debt affects everyone. Lack of public higher education effects everyone. We will no longer stay silent. Join us! 

Please free to check out our recently launched website which includes our formal press release for Friday’s action: http://allinthered.org/.

In Solidarity,

Matt

Photos from the Occupied Graduation at the University of Southern Maine

Two successful banner drops at today’s Occupied Graduation.  They read, “Debt Scammers Should Not Be Commencement Speakers”

 How can the University of Southern Maine honor Senator Olympia Snowe with a “Doctor of Humane Letters” as she continues to profit inhumanely off of our fellow students and veterans across the nation?

 How can the University of Southern Maine honor Senator Olympia Snowe with a “Doctor of Humane Letters” as she continues to profit inhumanely off of our fellow students and veterans across the nation?

Debtstimony - Kristen Anderson

"I went to college with no career objective in mind, taking classes that interested me. This is what I was encouraged to do by high school guidance counselors, my well-intended parents and the academic advisers/admissions at USM. A couple years into taking expensive classes with no direction, I became an English major because I enjoyed reading books and writing. When the upper level English classes got to be too homework intensive to succeed while working full-time to pay rent, I cut back my hours and started taking out more student loans above the cost of tuition and used the money to pay my rent. These were private loans. I did not have the foresight to realize that these loans would end up killing me financially in the long run. Four full years of college and I was still many semesters away from attaining a BA in English because my credits were not in the right areas.

At the end of 4 years, unexpected life events happened and I had to take a semester off. One semester led to two. I tried taking 1 or 2 classes while working full-time at my local bakery job, but a couple of classes weren’t enough to qualify for the financial aid to cover them. It was at this point that I realized the enormity of what I had done- I was screwed. I felt trapped. I became seriously depressed and couldn’t concentrate on my reading assignments- I spent a couple years taking out private loans to take one or two classes at a time but always had to drop them due to my nervous breakdown level anxiety over balancing full-time (often over-time) work hours, classes and the staggering realization that I already owed the government more money than I could ever pay. I felt like my life was over at 24. It was… sublimely disturbing.

Then I got lucky: I fell into a CNA course (certified nursing assistant) and started working at a nursing home where I fell in love with working with the elderly dementia population. I knew that I had found my calling and I desperately wanted to be a nurse. I re-approached the school situation, thinking there must be SOME way that I could get at least an Associate’s Degree in nursing. There was a serious RN shortage, so surely… no. I explored every avenue, but there was no way. I resigned myself to the fact that I would be paying this debt off forever and that I would never be an RN.

The reason I say I got “lucky” is this: I found my passion. I continued my CNA work at nursing homes and ended up taking an Activities Coordinator certification course at Portland Adult Ed. I found a good company to work for and I am able to do something I love that helps others.

It’s also something that in theory could have been achieved with a GED and one course at vocational school…. but it took $50,000 to figure that out.

Typing that ungodly figure above was difficult- my poor husband actually has to manage the debt payments for me because I can’t even think about the debt without going to a dark place. It will prevent us from owning a home. It has prevented us from having kids. The End.”

Debtstimony - Rachel Lynn Rumson

"My debt makes me feel like I am unmarriable; who would marry into this mess. I worry that my son will inherit this debt somehow, emotionally or financially. I worry that my son will not be educated. I was the first in my family to get a masters degree and I hope not the last.

My graduate plus loan has ruined my credit as well. There is another $15,000 of debt in collection from that. I have been in perpetual deferment of forbearance. Non of my jobs since graduation have afforded me the ability to pay my loans, or my graduate plus loans. I can not buy property. I can not save money.”

EDMC is an umbrella corporation for phony colleges that offer non-accredited courses towards fake degrees, and predatorally target low-income students and returning veterans who are eligible for federal loans for education.
It’s a swindle done by snake-oil salesmen, and Olympia Snowe and her Husband profit from the swindling of veterans and low-income Americans.
Oh, and another fun fact— EDMC is 40% owned by Goldman Sachs.

EDMC is an umbrella corporation for phony colleges that offer non-accredited courses towards fake degrees, and predatorally target low-income students and returning veterans who are eligible for federal loans for education.

It’s a swindle done by snake-oil salesmen, and Olympia Snowe and her Husband profit from the swindling of veterans and low-income Americans.

Oh, and another fun fact— EDMC is 40% owned by Goldman Sachs.

We’ll be following Snowe’s vote on the upcoming Stop the Student Loan Interest Rate Hike Act which could either:
a) Keep interest rates on federal student loans the same or
b) double interest rates on federal student loans.If she votes to double them, that would suck.  It would also be stupid.
And here’s the tricky thing— there’s no good option for Snowe to look good.  Because there are no restrictions on where federal student loans can be spent (like say, only on tuition for accredited institutions) snake oil salesmen like Olympia Snow and her Husband can run these phony colleges like the Arts Institute of California - Hollywood, which are non-academic, non-accredited “colleges” which offer worthless degrees and have non-transferable credits.
It’s a MASSIVE conflict of interest for Snow to be voting to make student loans more available when she’s raking in the dough with her fake school. 
And it’s even MORE audacious that she’s University of Southern Maine’s commencement speaker this year.

We’ll be following Snowe’s vote on the upcoming Stop the Student Loan Interest Rate Hike Act which could either:

a) Keep interest rates on federal student loans the same or

b) double interest rates on federal student loans.

If she votes to double them, that would suck.  It would also be stupid.

And here’s the tricky thing— there’s no good option for Snowe to look good.  Because there are no restrictions on where federal student loans can be spent (like say, only on tuition for accredited institutions) snake oil salesmen like Olympia Snow and her Husband can run these phony colleges like the Arts Institute of California - Hollywood, which are non-academic, non-accredited “colleges” which offer worthless degrees and have non-transferable credits.

It’s a MASSIVE conflict of interest for Snow to be voting to make student loans more available when she’s raking in the dough with her fake school. 

And it’s even MORE audacious that she’s University of Southern Maine’s commencement speaker this year.