A Short History of the Struggle against AST, So Far

Shared Services Implementation Timeline

In early November 2013, the University of Michigan announced that it would be implementing a downsizing program called Administrative Services Transformation (AST) which would consolidate and centralize its human resources and financial services. The program would involve cutting 50 positions and forcing employees to reapply for their jobs. Estimations of how much the downsizing program would reduce costs varied wildly. The project would be managed by a private consulting firm called Accenture, which was contracted for $11.7 million, and led by the University’s Associate Vice President of Finance Rowan Miranda, who had previously worked for Accenture. The project was met with immediate criticism, both for its merit as a worthwhile method of cost-reduction and for Rowan Miranda’s obvious conflict of interest. On December 9, 2013, a month of popular dissent culminated in a march across campus of students, faculty and staff who demanded that Rowan Miranda reapply for his job. The direct action produced an immediate result: two days later, Mary Sue Coleman announced that Rowan Miranda would no longer be heading the project. More recently, it was announced that Miranda is leaving the University entirely. While there were many factors at play here and while the struggle against AST is not over by any means, these results make clear that student and worker organization and direct action are effective methods of fighting the administration’s undemocratic top-down, decision-making and the increasing financialization of the University, two things that will require much fighting in the coming years if students, faculty and staff wish to make the University an institution that instructs, not destructs, society.

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One thought on “A Short History of the Struggle against AST, So Far

  1. Great work! The implementation of Shared Services has so far not been implemented at UT Austin, but the Faculty council has passed a resolution calling for more information and the graduate student assembly will be reviewing a similar resolution this Wednesday.

    solidarity.

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