Armed with drums and signs, a group of students and other UNC community members will march through campus at 4 p.m. today to protest budget cuts and tuition increases.
The protest corresponds with the National Day of Action to Defend Education, a series of rallies and other protest activities occurring across the country today.
After a rally in the Pit, the students have planned a 47-minute sit-in at South Building: 17 minutes to represent cut class sections, 15 minutes for undocumented student solidarity and 15 minutes to represent laid-off workers.
Ben Carroll, member of Students for a Democratic Society and protest organizer, said the group is aware its sit-in will violate UNC’s rule against sit-ins past 5 p.m. and that protesters are prepared for the possibility of being arrested, though they do not expect that to happen.
The group will also talk about admissions policies for undocumented immigrants and privatization of some University services, as well as deliver a petition with two other budget-related demands.
Carroll, N.C. Rep. Ray Rapp, D-Madison, who serves on the education committee, and Dwayne Pinkney, assistant vice chancellor for finance and administration, gave their take on some of the demands:
‘Chop from the top’
The demand: Costs should be saved by cutting at the administrative level.
Carroll: “Administrators should cut from their own salaries instead of cutting classes and adding to student fees.”
Rapp: “UNC is the leader in this as a result of the Bain study, in which a number of middle management positions have been eliminated to cut the overhead in administration at the University. . Your chancellor, Holden Thorp, is a nationally recognized leader in this model, and he’s saving millions and millions of dollars at Chapel Hill.”
Pinkney: “The efforts that have been underway for more than a year now … really do focus the reductions away from academics and onto the administration.”
‘Use UNC lobbying power’
The demand: The UNC system should lobby for an increase in corporate taxes to cover budget shortfalls.
Carroll: “UNC has the second biggest lobby in North Carolina, and they need to lobby for alternative ways to raise money without gutting education.”
Rapp: “To simply say, let’s tax corporations so we can have money for tuition is grossly and overly simplistic. As we look at the overall tax structure, it needs to be overhauled, and the University will benefit from that.”
Pinkney“We are interested in articulating our needs instead of attempting to instruct the legislature on how to acquire the revenue.”
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