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  • NYS Writers Institute

Town Hall Forum: The student loan debt crisis

Watch this conversation hosted by NYS Writers Institute Director Paul Grondahl about how the student debt crisis is undermining America’s future. Co-sponsored by Capital Cinema Cultural Exchange.

Panelists include:

Matt Taibbi, Author, reporter, Rolling Stone magazine (Moderator)

Michael J. Camoin - Filmmaker, "Scared to Debt"

Alan Collinge, Founder of StudentLoanJustice.Org

Catherine Austin Fitt, Investment Advisor (former Sallie Mae)

Thomas Borgers, Wall Street banker, financial investigator

Biographies of panelists

Matt Taibbi is an award-winning investigative reporter and one of America’s more recognizable literary voices. The son of a television reporter and a lawyer, Taibbi grew up admiring Russian writers, which led him to spend most of his early adult life in the former Soviet Union. In 1996 he moved to Mongolia and played in the Mongolian Basketball Association, where he was known as the "Mongolian Rodman."

Taibbi returned to the U.S. in 2002 and soon began work as a contributing editor for Rolling Stone. At Rolling Stone, Taibbi won the National Magazine Award for commentary. He is best known for his coverage of four presidential campaigns, of the 2008 financial crisis, and the criminal justice system.

He has written eight books, including four New York Times bestsellers: The Great Derangement, Griftopia, The Divide, and Insane Clown President. His book, I Can’t Breathe, about the police killing of Eric Garner, was named one of the year’s ten best books by the Washington Post.

Mike Camoin is a ’92 graduate of the University of Albany with a Masters in Social Welfare. Upon graduation he launched Videos For Change Productions and is best known for his documentary on the diminishing Adirondack culture in upstate New York. Camoin is developing Life or Death, a documentary about how David Kaczynski and Bill Babbitt both turn in mentally ill brothers to authorities only to experience very different results.

Camoin founded the Capital Cinema Cultural Exchange which hosts the annual Northeast Filmmakers Lab. Mike has worked on such Sundance winning feature films As You Are and We The Animals. He is presently in post-production on his next documentary SCARED TO DEBT: America’s Student Loan Scam due out in 2021.

Alan Collinge is founder of Student Loan Justice (SLJ), a grassroots organization, and political action committee. He holds B.S., M.S., and Eng. Degrees in aerospace engineering from the University of Southern California. Since founding SLJ in March, 2005 as a result of his own personal experiences with college loans, Collinge has been featured on "60 Minutes," and also in print media including Fortune, the San Francisco Chronicle, The Boston Phoenix, The Village Voice, Inside Higher Ed, and Rolling Stone. He has published editorials in the Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Sun, Denver Post, Boston Globe and other outlets.

Prior to founding StudentLoanJustice.Org, Collinge was Associate Scientist of Aeronautics at the California Institute of Technology, and also was regional project director for a government loan program administered by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Catherine Austin Fitts is the president of Solari, Inc., publisher of the Solari Report, and managing member of Solari Investment Advisory Services, LLC. Catherine served as managing director and member of the board of directors of the Wall Street investment bank Dillon, Read & Co. Inc., as Assistant Secretary of Housing and Federal Housing Commissioner at the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development in the first Bush Administration, and was the president of Hamilton Securities Group, Inc.

Fitts has designed and closed over $25 billion of transactions and investments to-date and has led portfolio and investment strategy for $300 billion of financial assets and liabilities. She was on the Board of Sallie Mae from 1991-1993 (before the agency privatized) and is a recurrent guest on the overnight radio program Coast to Coast AM.

Thomas Borgers is a Wall Street banker, expert witness and consultant on billion dollar financial cases, mortgage banker, federal regulator, Congressional appointee, certified fraud examiner, analyst, and advocate. He credits the foundation for his success on his 21 years at JP Morgan and Head of Real Estate Lending and working on many of the largest financial examinations and cases including: billion dollar bank failures, Bernie Madoff, 911 victims, and some of the largest scandals and investigations on Wall Street and around the world.

His appointment as Senior Investigator to the Congressional Commission “Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission” for his work investigating the mortgage lending crisis he was awarded the Washington DC ACFE Examiner of Year for 2009 and 2010, and the 2010 Special Act of Service Award by the Commission.

More recently, Borgers completed interviewing thousands of student loan borrowers and will be making his findings public in the new documentary SCARED TO DEBT: America’s Student Loan Scam.

Make a tax-deductible donation of any size for the completion of "Scared to Debt" documentary through a charitable 501(c)3 non-profit From The Heart Productions here:

Become an ambassador for Scared To Debt, join our growing mailing list by registering on Eventbrite Contact the filmmaker directly at


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