Students and Activists Will Deliver Petition, Rally at Extremist Group’s 40th Annual Conference in Chicago
Chicago, Illinois – Tomorrow, students, workers, and activists will crash the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) 40th annual meeting to draw attention to ALEC’s right-wing, corporate-backed agenda that has encouraged the passage of radical ‘stand your ground,’ right-to-work, and voter ID laws across the country.
The action will include the delivery of more than 13,500 petitions signed by people demanding that one of ALEC’s newest members, Sallie Mae, cut ties with the controversial group.
Amidst public outcry in recent years, several corporations chose to leave ALEC, just as the nation’s largest private student loan lender, Sallie Mae, chose to join. As part of its membership in the organization, Sallie Mae has drafted and proposed model legislation that limits public investment in higher education, in turn making college less affordable and forcing students and families to take out more school loans.
“Sallie Mae and ALEC have a track record of pushing a legislative agenda that inextricably links higher education to a lifetime of debt – and a lifetime of customers for Sallie Mae. It’s time to shine a light on their relationship,” explained Chris Hicks, Student Debt Organizer for Jobs with Justice and American Rights at Work. That organization is leading a campaign to find solutions to our country’s growing student debt crisis, including holding Sallie Mae accountable to its borrowers.
During a meeting in June with Sallie Mae executives, student leaders involved in the campaign asked the company directly about its membership in ALEC. In response, Sallie Mae executives admitted the company had helped draft model legislation for the group. When the students asked the executives to consider leaving the organization, the executives balked at the suggestion, asking for some “alternatives” to the request.
”Sallie Mae’s lending practices have turned getting a college education into a drag on our economy,” Hicks said. “As student debt and student loan defaults escalate at an unsustainable pace, private student loan lenders like Sallie Mae strike it rich.”
For interviews with rally attendees, students who joined the meeting with Sallie Mae executives, or borrowers struggling to pay off student loans, please contact Ori Korin at email@example.com.
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