OU students sit in so admins listen to price-hike protests

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Students gather in Cutler Hall for a sit-in protest against the 3.5-percent tuition hike. About 30 students participated in the protest, with some bearing signs stating, “Public education is a right not to be sold.” (Brien Vincent | Staff Photographer)

With the vote to approve or disapprove a third consecutive 3.5-percent tuition increase one week away, Ohio University students are making every effort to get their voices heard.

About 30 students, some of whom held signs reading, “Public education is a right not to be sold,” attended a sit-in session Wednesday in response to the proposed tuition increase. Though most OU protests occur on College Green, those fighting the potential tuition hike decided to take their fight inside Cutler Hall. Joining them were two OUPD officers.

“The tuition increase is unnecessary. We are in a national debt crisis,” said Ellie Hamrick, a junior studying anthropology who attended the sit-in. “There are 84 administrators at OU who make six-figure salaries, and they could live comfortable lives with a 20-percent cut.”

Tyler Barton, a senior studying chemistry, helped organize the silent protest.

“The sit-in was scheduled to show administrators that students don’t want tuition to go up,” Barton said. “We are showing that students have an interest in our financial lives that we are trying to defend.”

The unique style of protest did not go unnoticed by OU administrators, as Dean of Students Ryan Lombardi said it’s always a good thing when students are passionate about their education.

“I think students should absolutely share their opinions, and I am glad to see the engagement of the students today at the sit-in,” Lombardi said.

The current tuition rate for a full-time Athens campus undergraduate is $9,870 per year. With a 3.5-percent increase, that rate would jump $345 to $10,215.

On April 20, OU’s Board of Trustees will vote on the increase.

“College is expensive already, and with the economic situation our country is currently in, money is tight,” said Holly Rusk, a freshman studying education.

Students who took part in the sit-in signed and wrote various messages on a long scroll of paper that lined the floor of Cutler Hall. One message read:
“Because of your prices I am forced to transfer.” Another read: “Reduce the president’s payroll!”

bc822010@ohiou.edu

 

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