Students occupy Sadler in wake of tuition increase

Students are voicing their concerns about the recently announced tuition hike by bringing their own Occupy movement to campus.

The Occupy Sadler group plans to have a demonstration on Sadler Lawn Thursday around 4 p.m.

The group of students, headed by sophomore political science major Michael Millican, met last night to discuss the increase in tuition.

University administration announced to students yesterday through an e-mail that tuition would increase by 6.5 percent during the 2012-2013 academic year, bringing the total to $34,500.

Financial aid will increase by 6.5 percent as well, according to the email.

The main concerns discussed during the students’ meeting were about administration not asking for student input and or giving students forewarning before increasing the tuition.

“A lot of us are worried about our own futures here,” Millican said. “We’re all on scholarship, so we all have personal investments, and that’s what we’re concerned about.”

The group also entertained the idea of trying to get support from the Student Government Association and faculty.

“We don’t want this to be just students,” Millican said. “We want this to be the whole university community, because everybody is going to be affected by this.”

Sophomore biology major Nancy Wareing said she also thought the movement was something that everyone on campus could get involved with because the tuition increase will affect everyone, not just students.

The Occupy Sadler group also created a list of grievances at the meeting. The first was that the students are opposed to a tuition increase without scholarships and grants increasing equally for all students. The second was that they are opposed to the lack of transparency and lack of forewarning or student input that comes with the increases in tuition. And finally, they would support a grandfather clause for current and future students. A grandfather clause would allow students to pay the same amount of tuition they paid as a freshman for the rest of their years at the university.

Missy Hebert, a sophomore political science major, said she compared costs when choosing what university to attend, and money was a factor in her decision.

“I didn’t go to the school that offered me the most money,” she said. “But I wish that I had known that the value of my scholarship wouldn’t change even though the cost of education would.”

Hebert also said that the increase would make it more difficult for some students to attend the university.

“Some people can only afford to come here because of a combination of some scholarship and some student loans,” she said. “This is just going to make things harder on them.”

Wareing said they wanted the demonstration to be public so other people could join.

“I think the power of it is it’s public, [and] it’s out there,” she said. “People are going to walk by and see it, and if they want to get involved, they can.”

Editor’s Note: A name was removed from this story to reflect a change in status.