By Amanda Webster and Acadia Otlowski
Colorful banners and chants criticizing imposed tuition hikes for Conn. state colleges filled the Student Center Circle Monday afternoon as students and faculty came together to voice their opposition at a tuition rally.
Student Alexa Pagnani watched the rally unfold from the sidelines. “I think it’s really good that they are rallying,” said Pagnani. “It’s pretty ridculous that we all have to pay more for an education.”
The Board of Regents is considering a 5.1 percent increase for students, which would cost students an additional $800 in tuition.
Pagnani, who is a freshman, said that she heard tuition increase has been the trend in recent years and is worried that if this motion to raise tuition this year passes then it will only continue to increase.
“If it’s starting at $800, I don’t want to know what it’ll be like when we’re seniors.”
Student Government president Eric Bergenn organized the event in order to get students to voice their opinions on the matter.
“Today we are calling on the state to invest in us,” Bergenn said to an enthusiastic crowd. “It’s time to stand up to people who tell us that we are not important enough to invest in.”
SGA Senator Bobby Berriault addressed the crowd about his concerns over rising tuition. According to Berriault, around 3,000 students will graduate from CCSU at the end of this semester. Of those 3,000, approximately 90 percent will stay in Conn. to find jobs. With the majority of graduates staying in state and paying taxes, Berriault said that more money should be invested into state colleges so that students are able to afford the education needed to succeed later on.
“The Governor does not have the final say in how state funds are allocated,” stated Berriault. “If the people of Connecticut are to have a better future and a better tomorrow, we need to invest in all of Connecticut’s colleges and not just a few,” continued Berriault.
Much attention has been directed towards the $1.5 billion invested in UConn’s STEM program and with both rising costs of tuition and budget cuts for the CSU system, many people have been left with questions as to why the other state colleges have been financially neglected.
“I personally support any investment in UConn. However, I also support an investment here at CCSU,” Bergenn stated during the rally.
“I think that people are tired of being in debt,” said student Daniel Piper, a member of the Youth for Socialist Action.
“I don’t think they like the idea of debt hanging over them and their work life being overshadowed by that. It’s totally wrong, I think this state and this country are both wealthy enough to go to school for free, get a job and get healthcare for all. It’s insane, it’s absolutely insane what we are being deprived of. There is no reasonable explanation for it,” stated Piper.
“It’s cool to see students come together for a greater cause,” said sophomore Steve Blanchard.
Blanchard said that he hopes that more students from the CSU system will come together and travel to the capitol together to make their voices heard.
“It’s our voice, it’s our campus and our rights. It’s all on us. We’re the ones to make it happen.”