FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Outrage over Soaring Tuition Boils Over with Student Walkout at University of Minnesota
Wisconsin Labor Unrest Inspires Action
Rally and March: 11:30am Monday, March 28th, Coffman Union, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities East Bank
MINNEAPOLIS- On Monday, March 28th, students at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus will walk out of class at 11:30 am for a rally and march at Coffman Memorial Union. Students are outraged over soaring tuition, budget cuts, sky-rocketing administrative salaries, mounting student debt, attacks on cultural-diversity groups on campus, and blatant disregard for workers’ rights across the nation. In light of recent student and worker uprisings around the world, students in the Twin Cities are no longer willing to bear the burdens of the economic crisis while the rich only get richer. Inspired by the actions of students at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, Madison, and other campuses around the state, U of M students are standing up against injustices in their own state and their own university.
In-state tuition at the Twin Cities campus has increased 150% over the past 10 years, but students are not receiving a better quality education for their money: class sizes are increasing, student-to-teacher ratios are rising, more classes are taught by contingent and part-time faculty instead of professors, and available financial aid is decreasing. “If more and more services are being cut, then where is my tuition money going?” asked undergraduate student Jacob Niewald. “From what I’ve seen at the University, the only people who are improving their economic standing are upper-administrators and star faculty.” Additionally, the Minnesota house just presented their version of a budget bill that would cut $161.9 million of state funding for the university, placing even more financial burden on students and workers in the University of Minnesota system.
These proposed cuts would also force the university to freeze wages for faculty and staff, a group that, according to graduate student Eli Meyerhoff, has already had to make too many concessions. “These are hard-working people with families to support and student loans to pay off. What will happen if they have their wages cut, their benefits decreased, or their jobs eliminated? The results of these attacks on the livelihoods of university workers will be felt by everyone, from students to faculty to the greater Minnesota community.”
It is for these reasons that students have decided that enough is enough. Together, members of the University of Minnesota community are walking out and marching in order to:
-Foster worker-student solidarity and unity
-Oppose increases in tuition, wage cuts and salary freezes for staff and faculty, and continued salary increases for upper-administration
-Call for a tuition freeze, across the board raises for university workers making less than $50,000 a year, and pay cuts for administrators making more than $200,000
-Stand in solidarity with students and workers everywhere, particularly with those involved in current struggles in Wisconsin and other states with similar bills, as well as in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, and numerous others.
-Stand in solidarity with students in Milwaukee and support their ongoing occupation on the UWM campus
-Support the idea of a general strike in Wisconsin as the most effective means to stop Governor Scott Walker’s attack on students and working people in that state