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15.6 percent tuition hike likely to pass through Board of Trustees committee

The plans of raising tuition were discussed at South Building. The faculty proposed their plan and listened to Student Body President Mary Cooper's plan that was made with other students.

The University’s proposal to raise in-state tuition by 15.6 percent next year will likely pass through the budget, finance and audit committee of the Board of Trustees today.

Students and administrators alike have said they are dissatisfied with the plan, but Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Bruce Carney said he expects the proposal to be approved by the full board Thursday without changes.

Sallie Shuping-Russell, trustee and chairwoman of the finance committee, said she will support the University-backed proposal.

But some students, angry and frustrated by the proposal, won’t accept tuition increases lying down.

Members of Students for a Democratic Society, some of whom protested the tuition and fee advisory task force meeting Monday, distributed flyers in the Pit on Tuesday in preparation for today’s planned march to the committee meeting at the Carolina Inn.

If approved, the University’s plan would impose a $2,800 increase on in-state tuition during the next five years.

Carney, who drafted the proposal, said this year’s tuition debate was unique because Cooper drafted a well-researched proposal.

“It has been unusual to see this particular format,” he said.

Carney said while Cooper’s proposal merited consideration, it wasn’t received far enough in advance to be sufficiently deliberated. He said Cooper’s policy prioritized affordability rather than maintaining the University’s high quality.

“I am not prepared to become just another state university and I don’t think that’s why students come here in the first place,” he said.

Senior Laurel Ashton, who attended Monday’s meeting and will participate in today’s march, said Carney’s attitude highlights a disconnect between student priorities and administrators.

“I think the idea is they’re using the threat of losing all of our prestige against the students,” she said.

Though Cooper’s proposal — which featured a 6.4 percent hike for all in-state students and a supplemental 5 percent increase for incoming students — was rejected, she said she was pleased with the quality of conversation.

But students who attended the meeting in support of Cooper said her proposal should have merited greater consideration.

“There was an air of, ‘Well, this wasn’t written on the back of a napkin, so we commend you for your hard work,’” said sophomore Sean Langberg, a member of SDS.

He added the lack of direct conversation between students and administrators makes it easier for those in power to dismiss student-backed proposals.

“After (Monday) I kind of lost hope that we’d get a reasonable tuition approach,” Langberg said.

The divide between administrators and students was never more evident than at that meeting, he added.

Cooper disagreed.

“The proposal didn’t go through, but at the end of the day, it stood for and was crafted from what students want,” she said. “The important thing is that we brought up a lot of good questions and forced the issue.”

Langberg said despite inevitable tuition increases, he wants his voice to be heard.

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“Protesting is the only vehicle we have to apply pressure,” he said.

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