TO THE EDITOR:
As part of the Strike the Hikes campaign, I attended two public meetings on tuition and fees. I expected the committee to pass Provost Bruce Carney’s proposed tuition hike, but one thing puzzled me about our ‘dialogue.’ Why do they keep asking students to provide proposals? This seems like a reasonable request, but it is only a distraction, a delay tactic.
Mary Cooper presented a proposal — a 6.4 percent tuition increase per year plus 5 percent extra for first-years — and every non-student member of the tuition and fee advisory task force voted against it. They claim that they did not have enough time. Why, then, should we waste our time with a written proposal, two days and two meetings later? To be disregarded like Mary Cooper?
Some may criticize our use of the ‘mic check’ tactic to disrupt the Nov. 16 meeting after the decision to adopt the proposal was declared unanimously. I believe it was necessary. It was the first time those determining the price of our public education were forced to hear the students.
Tuition is not just a price — it is a decision about the composition of our student body. In 1999, in-state tuition and fees were approximately 6 percent of the median family income in North Carolina. In 2009, it was 13 percent. With an in-state tuition increase of $2,800 over five years and a still-sagging economy, that percentage will skyrocket. Do you know someone who won’t be coming back next year?