A panel discussion featuring:

  • Raúl Carrillo, Modern Money Network
  • Alexis Goldstein, Financial Analyst, Truthout
  • Nick Mitchell, Associate Professor, Feminist Studies & Critical Race and Ethnic Studies, UCSC
  • Christopher Newfield, Professor of English, UCSB

Hosted by Bill Maurer, Dean, UCI School of Social Sciences, and moderated by Hannah Chadeayne Appel, Associate Director, Luskin Institute on Inequality and Democracy, UCLA.

"There is no alternative" has been the refrain of austerity politics since Margaret Thatcher first uttered the phrase in the 1980s. In U.S. public higher education, this has meant the withdrawal of state funding, skyrocketing tuition and student debt burdens, the adjunctification of faculty and increasing precarity of labor, and bond-financed prestige construction projects. Today, COVID-19 saps more money from privatized university budgets: cancelled housing and dining contracts, normally lucrative medical centers on pause for all but emergencies, and more. And so, the refrain comes back. There is no alternative to drastic budget cuts, massive firing, furloughing, and hiring freezes. But COVID-19 does not merely reproduce the rhetoric and fact of budget crisis. From rent strikes to student debt moratoria, from decarceration to free healthcare, the pandemic shows us that there are, and always have been, immanent alternatives. What are these alternatives for the financing of public higher education, both during and after the COVID-19 crisis?

Join us to discuss salary caste systems and university endowments, student debt and institutional debt service payments, federal funding, Modern Monetary theory, and beyond. Let’s organize to refuse austerity now, and enact other worlds together.

connect with us


© UC Irvine School of Social Sciences - 3151 Social Sciences Plaza, Irvine, CA 92697-5100 - 949.824.2766