Members of Occupy CU Boulder, wielding cardboard signs and Sharpie markers, are protesting the possibility of a 15.7 percent in-state tuition increase and are encouraging other CU students to do the same.
Occupy CU’s “Teach-In” event took place Tuesday afternoon outside the UMC at Trumbo Fountain. Mike Springer, founder of Occupy CU, said the purpose of the event was to raise awareness about the deteriorating quality and cost of education.
“This is what we’re here for,” Springer said, raising a handmade sign with ‘15.7 percent’ painted on it. “I don’t think students understand that their education could be better, that they could be getting smaller classes with teachers who aren’t overworked, and paying less money for it.”
Among the protesters were members of the community, professors and students, all of whom are concerned about different aspects of the supposed in-state tuition hike.
Ryan Rasmussen, a 25-year-old history and political science junior and in-state student, said he is troubled by the competitiveness of teachers versus administrators.
“If we’re going to say that we need to pay the competitive price in the market, then we need to definitely pay our faculty more,” Rasmussen said. “We need good administrators, but we need great teachers.”
While Occupy CU hasn’t gained much student attention, the proposed 15.7 percent in-state tuition increase is a common ground for protesters and students to agree upon.
Collin Wooldridge, a 21-year-old junior integrative physiology major and Colorado native, said he is frustrated with the tuition increase, especially as a student who pays for tuition solely by loans and grants.
“The University is continuously expanding and building so that they can admit more students in the future,” Wooldridge said. “If they decided to focus more of their time and money on their current students rather than their future students, we wouldn’t need to raise tuition.”
Ken McConnellogue, vice president and spokesperson for the CU System, said the 15.7 percent tuition increase for in-state students is one of three proposals the CU administration is considering.
“In January, the Regents asked the administration to consider two other proposals as well,” McConnellogue said. “I would be surprised if the original moves forward.”
McConnellogue said the administration is going to discuss the proposals at the March meeting, and vote on the decision toward the end of April.
Although Tuesday’s event had a small turnout, Occupy CU protesters said they are glad that students are starting to show interest and hope to see more of them at upcoming events.
A statewide conference on the Occupy movement will be held on the CU campus Feb. 18.
“The next big thing we’re planning is a collaborative effort with the other Occupies of Colorado,” Springer said. “We’re going to invite a bunch of progressive movements like Environment Colorado and public radio.”
Occupy CU has rented a lecture hall in Duane Physics and has at least 350 seats reserved for this event.
“We want to make sure there’s a lot of representation there,” Springer said.
Contact CU Independent News Budget Editor Lauren Archuletta at Lauren.email@example.com.