More than 100 students and faculty of universities in St. Petersburg, Russia, gathered on April 23, 2017, for a rally against the policy of “optimization” of education [Translator’s note: “optimization” is a euphemism for austerity measures to close, downsize and reorganize schools at the expense of students and staff, similar to what is happening across the U.S.]
The action was organized by the Movement of Students and Teachers Against the Policy of Destruction of Education and Science (#Сами) and was actively supported by representatives of several trade unions, universities and education associations, the “Teachers” union, “Solidarity University” and friendly leftist organizations.
There was strong participation in the rally from students and teachers of St. Petersburg State University, European University, St. Petersburg Publishing and Printing College, Russian State Hydrometeorological University, Stieglitz Art and Industry Academy, and other city schools.
Participants at the rally focused on the policy of so-called “optimization of educational institutions”: they demanded autonomy of universities and colleges; election of rectors; democratic procedure for the appointment of administrative staff; and that government take into account the views of trade unions and student associations. Speakers also raised issues related to the working conditions and payment of teachers.
The city branch of the United Communist Party (OKP) supported the rally. Speaking for our party were teacher Andrei Terentyev and student Dina Gulyanitskaya.