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Campus-wide Anti-austerity Social Media Action Kit

Send us your quote and/or photo.

Send in a photo of yourself (if you choose) and a short written statement or video.  You can demand support, describe your needs, or speak generally about what austerity has meant for you. If you aren’t comfortable attaching your name, you can submit your statement as “Anonymous, House Officer”

Submit your statement and photo or video to help@hoaumich.org
Posts will be shared across many organizations' social media platforms with the hashtag #MoneyWhereYourMouthIs.

Prompts & Sentence Starters: 

We’ve provided some prompts and sentence starters to help guide your statement. These are intentionally broad and do not encompass all aspects of the university’s austerity measures. You aren’t required to use these and are welcome to speak freely.

  • Austerity harms me as a resident/fellow because...
  • Have you ever spoken to the administration about these harmful austerity measures?What was their response like? Did you feel heard?
  • What resources do you need? What would it mean if you had them?
  • Austerity is a choice. How does it make you feel when the university chooses not to invest in the people you work with? (nurses, PAs, attendings)
  • Has the administration ever promised you resources/funding/a meeting and not delivered on that promise?

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Why?

The University of Michigan has implemented austerity measures in response to the financial challenges brought on by COVID-19. Nearly 40% of lecturers at UM-Flint have been laid off, classes that students need to graduate have been cut, and housing and nursing are both in desperate need of more staff. 

The University of Michigan is one of the wealthiest institutions in the country. The endowment is valued at more than 12 billion dollars and over 6 billion of that is unrestricted. Previously the admin has stated the reserves are for emergencies only. While this claim is debatable, the challenges brought on by covid-19 clearly make this an appropriate time to use them. In fact, in March the university leveraged their unrestricted reserves to borrow $1 billion to “reinforce the overall liquidity position of the university [and] help support the university’s credit ratings.” The administration acknowledges reserves can and should be used at this time, yet in the midst of a once in a lifetime socio-economic crisis they still refuse to use them to support students, faculty, and staff.

At an institution with the financial resources that the University of Michigan has, austerity is a choice. Likewise, the university will eventually recover from a few years of financial hardship. Many students, faculty and staff never will. 

Endowment policies can be changed and budgets can be amended. We want to show the administration that their financial decisions have human consequences and push them to reverse austerity measures. 

For more information on how the endowment works and the financial health of the university, view this video from Eastern Michigan University Professor of Accounting Howard Bunsis. To learn about what this means for students, faculty, and staff, read this blog post from the LEO Communications Committee or this statement from the All Campus Labor Council.