Save public higher education!

Campus community, join in the protest this Thursday to reclaim higher education.

by Nicholas Hengen

Nearly every person reading this letter is or has been an immediate beneficiary of public higher education. Students today are paying a lot more for their education than students even 10 years ago did. When I was finishing my bachelorâÄôs degree at the University of Minnesota in 2001, tuition was $4,000 per year. Now, students are paying over three times that. The University is no longer primarily a place for students to learn, but a place âÄúdrivenâÄù by marketing, absurd administrative salaries and what looks suspiciously like a profit motive. And it could get worse. This fall, state schools in California âÄî whose chancellor, Mark Yudof, ran the University not so long ago âÄî started to close departments, furlough workers and faculty and warn students tuition would jump over 30 percent next year. In October, protesters occupied campuses in Berkeley, Los Angeles and Santa Cruz. This Thursday, that movement goes national. Students, university workers, faculty and alumni across the country will gather to reclaim public education. Though I have not played a part in organizing the 12 p.m. march on the East Bank, I will be there âÄî to protest the measly stipend I get paid as a graduate student who works hard to teach well and conduct quality research. More, I will be there to protest the way the University has excluded those who canâÄôt afford to pay its ever-growing tuition and to protest the layoffs that have impacted the UniversityâÄôs most precarious workers. I hope everyone who has benefited from public higher education will join me. Nicholas Hengen University Graduate Student