Amherst’s support for student loan debt forgiveness

Posted: 2022-06-02 14:16:41

Modified: 02/06/2022 14:14:41

I commend the Amherst City Council for making the morally right decision to vote to pass a resolution calling on President Joe Biden to cancel all student debt, and I want to thank Councilors Pat DeAngelis, Ana Devlin Gauthier, Ellisha Walker and Andy Steinberg for spearheading this file. publish.

It is unfortunate that at the May 16 board meeting, instead of the cosponsors being able to first introduce the resolution and facilitate a discussion of its merits, or share what led them to sponsor it, a recent article by he New York Times opinion published to throw cold water on the vigorous student debt cancellation movement took center stage. This op-ed, which cited erroneous data from right-wing figures and institutions such as Betsy DeVos, the National Review, the Heritage Foundation and others to make dubious claims about student debt, nearly derailed the conversation about the resolution on the table.

Amherst’s resolution evolves in part from one that the Western Massachusetts Area Labor Federation, a coalition of more than 60 public and private sector unions representing more than 30,000 workers regionally, unanimously passed. and with enthusiasm in January. Amherst’s resolution addresses the fact that canceling student debt is a racial justice issue, an economic justice issue, and a gender equity issue.

I strongly encourage readers to read the entire resolution on the city’s website. Along with Northampton City Council, Amherst joins Boston, Cambridge, Somerville and Chelsea in calling for the cancellation of student debt. The NAACP and the National AFL-CIO, two of the largest organizations fighting for civil and labor rights in this country, are advocating for the cancellation of student debt. Eight attorneys general recently wrote a letter calling for the cancellation of all federal student debt held by each borrower.

The Amherst City Council is in good company, and this resolution is one more step toward increasing much-needed pressure on Biden to take up the pen and cancel all federal student debt.

Ian Rhodewalt


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