Members of Students for a Democratic Society say it’s not too late to stop looming tuition hikes.
When UNC-system President Thomas Ross met with students at UNC on Wednesday night, he said it would be hard for students to affect the tuition decision this late in the process — but SDS members disagreed.
To prepare for the UNC-system Board of Governors’ looming vote on tuition increases, campus groups, including SDS and UNC’s Education Justice Alliance, held a teach-in Thursday night in an attempt to renew efforts in opposition to tuition hikes.
Attendees saw presentations from one student and two state officials who focused on how the proposals would affect students directly.
Sean Langberg, a sophomore member of SDS, used data to illustrate the specifics of the tuition increase.
“I wanted to contextualize what the tuition hikes really mean,” Langberg said.
“I wanted to take the issue out of the vacuum it’s been put in and make it more available to students.”
N.C. Sen. Ellie Kinnaird, D-Orange, who spoke at the event, expressed support for the influence of student-led protests.
The UNC Education Justice Alliance is a group of students, faculty and community members who oppose tuition hikes.
In the group’s list of official demands, members urge the Board of Governors to democratize all discussions and decisions on tuition, treat students as partners, reaffirm commitment to affordability and stop the N.C. General Assembly’s “privatization of public education,” among other things.
Organizers of the event said they hope the teach-in will enable students to make their own decisions through education.
“We feel like the student voice has not been included nearly as much as it could be, so we’re trying to change that,” said Kate Davis Jones, an organizer of the event.
The Campus Y hosted a similar event Monday, featuring Student Body President Mary Cooper.
Amanda Ellis, president of UNC’s chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People who attended the event, said she felt empowered by the presentation.
“Knowledge is power,” she said. “Now I want to see more faces, and I want more fires in this fight.”
SDS members plan to march to the Board of Governors’ meeting on Feb. 10, when board members will vote on proposals.
“You have to wake up, and more importantly, you get to skip class,” Langberg said. “And then you get to start a revolution.”
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