Rutgers Students Protest Tuition Rates With Sit-In, Demonstration

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (CBS 2) — Angry over the high cost of college, a group of Rutgers University students have been protesting inside the administration offices for more than 24 hours – and they said they’re not leaving until the school president does something about the skyrocketing tuition.

Angry over rising tuition, students protested outside administration offices and tried to get food to nine students inside. The students began staging a sit-in Wednesday morning, demanding to meet with University President Dr. Richard McCormick, reports CBS 2’s Christine Sloan.

The students, with several more students working in shifts to maintain a presence outside, have taken occupancy inside the Old Queens administration building on the New Brunswick campus.

They want Dr. McCormick to advocate on their behalf for a reduction in fees, and a one-year tuition freeze.

“I have to take out personal, student loans. I don’t get any financial aid, so it’s going to be extremely difficult to continue school without it,” said student Fatima Agosto.

“Anger that the administration won’t even address our concerns or take us seriously, this is how far we have to go,” sit-in protestor George Casalins said.

Political science major Annabel Pollioni said for many students, attending a state school was no longer the most affordable option.

“I think we’re being cheated with our tuition,” she said.

In a video posted by the Star Ledger, a University official was seen warning the young protesters they face suspension for refusing to leave the building.

McCormick, who’s out of town, does not have the power to freeze tuition. That’s set by the University’s Board of Governors. Nevertheless, school officials said he was considering their demands.

School officials said the students won’t be arrested.

“The longer they stay here, the longer it’ll be before we can resolve this issue,” said Dr. Gregory Blimling, Rutgers Vice President of Student Affairs.

The students said they’re well aware that freezing tuition was beyond President McCormick’s authority, but they’re hoping the sit-in and demonstration will at least convince him to take up their cause.

“The tuition has gone up about $2,000 last year, it’s projected to go up and estimated $1,200 next year,” student Yara Calcano said.

Right now, students who are New Jersey residents pay more than $23,000 for tuition, including room and board.

Protest organizers, who staged a much larger demonstration earlier in April, said they’re prepared to wait for an answer.

“Tuition has risen, actually doubled, in the last ten years. And that’s of grave concern to a lot of students here who are seeking to attend a public university, who actually want an affordable education,” said organizer John Aspray.

“We want to abolish the myth that students are apathetic and don’t care about their education, don’t care about making change. We do care,” said organizer Donggu Yoon.

“We’ve made it clear to them any tuition increase that occurs next year will be very reasonable,” Dr. Blimling said.

After surviving on soda, seltzer, and bagels, the majority of protesters said they were ready to continue making their case for as long as it takes.

While school officials claimed the students – some huddled in sleeping bags, with only a window view of the outside – had been fed, protestors outside were getting restless. They said the students hadn’t had a real meal, and that campus police weren’t allowing friends to send in food.

“They’re not respecting our needs this much, that we’re here trying to make a stand and the administration isn’t listening to us,” sit-in protestor Renee Coppola said. “They can’t even listen to our demands within the building for food and our belongings.”

The students said they were using fans to keep cool in the hot offices, and that they’ll stay there until their demands are met.

School officials said the president has met with students in the past, and that he’ll be happy to meet with them when he returns Thursday evening.

Has education become too expensive? Let us know below…


One Comment

  1. Yara Lisbeth Calcaño-Lopez says:

    CBS, FOX News, NBC, Verizon Fios, NJN, and other news representatives came down to the site of the sit-in on Thursday for a press conference. Extensive footage was recorded of what was going on. the CBS reporter even made her way to the inside of Old Queens (even though NOTHING AND NO ONE else was allowed inside). There was also footage of the subsequent rally, the conversation with the guards that locked the building from the outside-in, and the official refusal to allow food and supplies up to Old Queens. Why is this story not in ANY of the media? I believe there was a deal made!

  2. Alan Collinge says:

    Benjamin is correct. This is what you should be arguing for. Its the lack of consumer protections that has turned the debt predatory, and caused the inflation we have seen. This is a standard mechanism that should have never been removed. Argue for this, and you will be taken seriously

  3. Craig Morgan says:

    if they raise tuition how are they gonna afford to bring snookie back.

  4. Benjamin says:

    Make student loans dischargable under bankruptcy.

    If students could discharge student loans in bankruptcy court (just like baby boomers can discharge mortgage debt), a lot fewer loans would be available for students. Colleges would respond by vastly LOWERING tuition so they could keep students.

    Right now, the Government guarantees student loans and doesn’t let former students declare bankruptcy (it’s just like indentured servitude) – which allows colleges to raise tution to WHATEVER they want, cause hey, the students can just get more loans, and if the can’t pay them back, it’s not the universities problem.

    That’s the least that should be done. Cut the welfare checks to military bums and banker bums and we could forgive all student debt and make state schools FREE – just like Europe does.

    1. robertsgt40 says:

      Benjamin-you should have tagged “Clueless”. The student loan bubble will be bursting soon. That would be almost a trillion dollars. A college education today is almost worthless on two counts. First, there are no jobs. Secondly, most of what you “learn” is false or at best spun to give a false truth. The student “loan” is just one more tool in keeping people hooked into debt slavery.

  5. Ru Alumn says:

    The expense of higher education is ridiculous. I know of many Rutgers Alumn who are currently unemployed and graduated at least a year ago. Why are BA’s becoming more expensive, while at the same time they are less valuable in the job market? How can anyone afford to pay back these loans without employment opportunities. The increase in tuition is ridiculous and is alienating those who wish to receive a higher education, how long will this last? RU Alumni who are currently unemployed and their BA haven’t done them any good need to sit-in!

  6. Brady says:

    This is not a partisan issue. It’s about having a right to education, and the issue is more complex than who happens to be POTUS at the time. Two years is hardly enough time to fix the economy, and it’s not just democrats running up the deficit. Far more money was spent on the War in Iraq then services like Planned Parenthood, NPR, and other programs that somehow get blamed for the deficit.

    1. lilly says:

      If it’s not a partisian issue, than don’t argue in the democrats’ defense

      1. Brady says:

        Lilly, by explaining how the dems are NOT at fault, I’m supporting the point that it is not a partisan issue. Now, if I had said that republicans ARE at fault, then I would be supporting the point that it IS a partisan issue, but I did not do this. I brought up the issue of how the Iraq war ran up our deficit more than so called “liberal” programs, but this war was supported by dems and republicans alike. Like many problems, it transcends party lines. I don’t understand why so many news stories draw uninformed comments from people ranting about political parties, but this seems to be the case more often than not. For this reason, I’ve unsubscribed from updates on this artical, as I don’t want to get involved in a political back and forth unrelated to the issue at hand.

        Everyone, please take the time to consider what you are saying before leaving half-baked comments. These forums should facilitate productive discussion, not generalized insults and childish quips.

  7. Coddled too long! says:

    Wow, X-box, Playstation and Nintedo must be taking a hit with this group of borderline personalities sitting out of the Gaming World. Are their Mommy’s and Daddy’s making PBJ Sandwiches and providing them with bottled water during their demostration? I guess it’s come to be that no matter how good some people have it, they will complain about it anyway.

    1. stephanie says:

      What, you can’t pay 23,000 dollars for school? Does your mommy and daddy have poorly paying jobs? Maybe you all should go get an education so you can get a better one… But wait, no one can pay 23,000 for an education anyway, so let’s all continue to live on unemployment and welfare

    2. Yara Lisbeth Calcaño-Lopez says:

      I think you’ve missed the point here. Why are you sprinkling the matter with insults?

  8. Aceof Spades says:

    They can afford to raise money for Snookie to talk about nothing. Now they are complaining about tuition.

    1. Brady says:

      Actually, the money for Snooki wasn’t “raised” by students. It was allocated from student fees by a group that organizes events. Most students were upset that their student fees went to such a ridiculous, expensive event. The students in this story are arguing for lower student fees (=fewer events like Snookki’s visit)

    2. Yara Lisbeth Calcaño-Lopez says:

      our tuition includes mandatory student fees that are allocated to university organizations such as RUPA that take charge of events such as Snookie’s visit. we did not fund raise for this.

  9. giuseppe sanfrancesco says:

    What? We are not allowed to protest in our country? Last time I checked, we are free to protest if we want to get our point across!!!!!!!

Comments are closed.

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