Ohio State doesn’t need another bad deal.
Today, Ohio State University could become the first public University in the nation to privatize campus parking – but it’s not too late to stop this dangerous, risky deal!
At 4:30 today, OSU Trustees will decide whether to go along with President Gee’s boldest step yet to cede control of our campus to the highest corporate bidder. For a one-time $483 million fee, Gee would lay off union parking workers and hand over OSU’s 35,000 parking spaces to LAZ Parking, the same company responsible for the disastrous privatization of Chicago’s parking meters in 2009. Under that deal, parking rates have skyrocketed and city taxpayers will end up overpaying the company more than $1 billion in pure profit over the life of the lease.
Gee claims that selling off parts of our campus will help students, but LAZ’s track record of profiting at the public’s expense speaks for itself. An independent analysis by OSU faculty shows that LAZ will walk away with millions while students, workers and faculty are left holding the bag.
President Gee might want to use OSU as a guinea pig for corporate experiments, but the Trustees have the power to nix this deal. Two years ago, the Pittsburgh City Council voted to ignore their Mayor’s recommendation and reject an “irresponsible” $452 million offer from LAZ for their parking meters.
At OSU, 84% of faculty surveyed by the administration say they oppose the deal, and students and workers have made it crystal clear that we oppose any plan that penalizes workers and turns our campus into a cash cow for corporations exploiting public assets for their own private gain.
Since last year, OSU has been trying to sell off all the rights to make OSU apparel to the Dallas Cowboys, a serial sweatshop abuser. But it hasn’t stopped there. OSU has become ground zero for corporations’ quest to take control of our public Universities. We have to do everything we can to stop this dangerous scheme from hurting students and workers here, and all around the nation.