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Michigan Measure Would Cut Funds to Universities That Aid Restaurant Workers’ Group

The involvement of University of Michigan students in labor protests against a restaurant in Dearborn, Mich., has led state legislators to propose cutting funds to any public university tied to the group behind the demonstrations, The Detroit News reports. The Michigan House of Representatives’ education budget includes a provision that would deny funds to any university that collaborates with the Detroit-based Restaurant Opportunities Center, a nonprofit group that University of Michigan students have assisted for internship credit. A News investigation found that the Michigan Restaurant Association got Republican lawmakers to insert the provision into the education budget in response to Michigan students’ involvement, in 2009 and 2010, in protests organized by the Restaurant Opportunities Center outside the Dearborn location of the Italian-restaurant chain Andiamo. Faculty members have denounced the provision as an attack on academic freedom, but Republican legislators have argued that public universities should not be aiding protests outside the businesses that support them through state taxes, the newspaper says.

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