UConn students protest tuition hike

Students at the University of Connecticut are protesting a tuition hike and planning within the next month to file a Freedom of Information request to reveal the university’s full budget.

Nina Hunter, a junior and representative of the protest group Student Coalition on Reprioritizing Education, said the request is in response to the administration’s February decision to raise tuition by 5.6 percent. In a press conference Monday at the university’s campus in Storrs, Conn., students asked for a reversal of the hike, a more inclusive process for future tuition changes and a commitment by the administration to a higher quality of education.

The students also delivered a list of grievances to school President Michael Hogan, demanding that the university peg tuition to the inflation rate for five years, add students to the tenure review board and create an online system for students to track university funds. But Hogan is currently in San Antonio, Texas, at the Final Four, Hunter said, and will review the list of grievances when he returns.

Hunter said the students were upset that the administration spent close to $500,000 to renovate Hogan’s office after announcing the tuition hike.

“There was a concern that classes were being cut and graduate students were being cut, but we’re spending money on frivolous things like a $4,000 rug,” she said.

Michael Kirk, a spokesman for the university, said student engagement in university policy is healthy.

“We’re always happy to answer questions, explain policies and have open and thoughtful discussions with the UConn community,” he said in an e-mail.

Even if none of the students’ demands are met, Hunter said the press conference raised awareness among students about what the administration was doing. Of the university’s more than 15,000 students, between 30 and 50 attended the press conference.

“Our president makes over $600,000. Lots of students didn’t know that,” she said. “Students should care about what the money at the university is allocated for.”

The coalition’s immediate plan is to recruit students to raise awareness among parents about the university’s budget. Also, the coalition members plan to confront the administration today at an event the Undergraduate Student Government has organized.

UConn’s tuition next school year is $8,064 for in-state students and $24,528 for out-of-state students.

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