New Brunswick, New Jersey, July 14, 2011 – Rutgers students, alumni, faculty, and staff together in a coalition called “Rutgers One” confronted the University’s Board of Governors that sets the school’s budget and tuition this Thursday, July 14. They called for a freeze on tuition and an end to the freeze on faculty and staff wages.
The coalition was brought together because of the common sentiment of feeling not represented nor respected by the administration and feeling that the administration has fallen into a “crisis of priorities.”
Students, faculty, alumni, and staff asked the Board to consider their personal hardships and the implications of their actions in rising tuition and fees and not paying the faculty and staff their contracted raises even in the face of the $55 million cut to the New Jersey’s higher education budget. About one hundred faculty, staff, and students also gathered outside to rally against the tuition hikes and the problem of not honoring contracts.
"Rising tuition costs, paired with fewer services, are a hallmark of any university during a time of economic hardship. However, a public university should not turn to its own students to raise funds by ‘nickel-and-diming’ them; a public university should not ignore its contracts with its own staff and faculty to ‘make ends meet’,” said Richard Garzon, a Rutgers University senior.
Staff members highlighted the discrepancy between Rutgers’ standards for students and employees, and Rutgers’ standards for its administration.
"I think that it's disgraceful that the 'flagship university' of the State of New Jersey would negotiate with its unions, come to an agreement and then renege on the agreement. If the university can get away with this, how can they attempt to discipline a student for cheating on an exam?" asked Chucki Bynes, Senior Laboratory Technician and President of AFSCME Local 1761, which represents computer, laboratory and clerical workers.
After hearing from the testimonies of students, alumni, faculty, and staff, the Chairman of the Board, Ralph Izzo, proposed to cut the increase in tuition in half, to 1.8%.
“This is a huge victory for students and I want to thank of the students who made their voice heard over the past year. We can’t forget about our faculty and staff who deserve a living wage” said Matt Cordeiro, President of Rutgers University Student Assembly.