Saturday, June 8, 2013

Meeting with the Dean of Students

Four Students from the LESS T met with the Dean of Students, Paul Shang,  on Thursday to talk about President Gottfredson's Investiture and our mic check. He stated that it was not the time or place for such a disruption although students have had no chance to meet with the President. We requested a meeting with the President and the Provost, Jim Bean, who stated at the Investiture that it was not the appropriate place but that he was willing to meet with us. You can see a video of the mic check here:

We look forward to meeting with the Provost and other administrators in the coming weeks. We will be continuing to push our administration to support students in a tuition freeze.

We are demanding that our administration take pay freezes in order to take part in the shared sacrifice that we are all having to take part in. We will be presenting this to the administration at this meeting.

Check back for more updates and email with questions and requests.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Students Protest President Gottfredson's Investiture

50 University of Oregon students interrupted the Investiture of President Gottfredson demanding a tuition freeze on Thursday, May 30th. The administration of our university has consistently demonstrated that they do not have good reason to raise our tuition (see March posts). This year tuition is proposed to be raised 4.5% for resident students, with additional fees (including increased fees approved by student election to cove the new EMU and Student Recreation Center) bringing the total increase to 5.8%.

Students hold a banner saying "Gottfredson, Support a Tuition Freeze!" in front of Johnson Hall. 

Students protested at Matt Knight Arena for The President's Investiture, a ceremonial welcome and symbolic exchange of authority to Michael R. Gottfredson. Students have been trying to meet with President Gottfredson throughout the year and were repeatedly told 'no.' So we came to him to demonstrate the seriousness with which we take our concerns about tuition hikes. We did a mic check (think: Occupy) stating that we were not going to accept tuition increases because we were given little information or reason why they were increasing.  In attendance were also Senator Ron Wyden and the Interim Oregon University System Chancellor Melody Rose. 

You can see a video of the mic check here:

We have reached out to Gottfredson, who has not responded to our requests for a meeting, and cancelled a scheduled meeting with campus workers (SEIU 503) AFTER people arrived to his office. We went to the Administration's town hall with students (scheduled the week prior to Finals Week) about tuition increases/budget processes, where little was explained to us and we were talked to in a very condescending tone. We have attended every town hall with legislators in Eugene voicing our concerns to elected officials. We had a call in day for students to call OUS representatives' listed office number to give testimony about how they would be affected by tuition increases. We gathered over 300 petition signatures demanding a tuition freeze targeting OUS and presented them during testimony to OUS in Portland

The last action will be on June 21st at the Oregon University System's board meeting where they will be voting on tuition increases for the coming school year. SLAP will be at that meeting with students from the UO to show that we are not going to accept tuition increases. 

Friday, May 3, 2013

UO seeks 6% increase in tuition and fees

Friday, March 15, 2013

LESS T speaks out against tuition increases for 2013-2014!

Written by Joanna Stewart

Today, students from the LESS T coalition and other student groups on campus came to a public meeting put on by the University surrounding tuition increases. The meeting was facilitated by two administrators, Jim Bean, University Provost, and Brad Shelton, Vice President of Budget and Planning. There were over 40 students (undergraduate and graduate) there including classified staff who work on campus. We received a presentation on next year's proposed tuition increases and how we match up to other universities. The meeting was one hour long in the Jacqua Center. 

It was stated by students that this was not a well-publicized meeting and how it was extremely inconvenient for students considering it is our dead week. They went through a presentation that lasted about 20 minutes. The rest of the time became for questions and discussion. 

We found out that the University of Oregon will be recommending a 4.5% increase in tuition for in-state students for the 2013-2014 school year. They will be recommending a 3.45% increase in tuition for non-residents. Residents will be paying $186 per credit hour compared to $178 for 2012-2013. Non-residents will be paying $629 per credit hour compared to $608 for 2012-2013. 

This is the smallest increase percentage in about five years. 

Although it is a smaller increase than previous years, the burden on students is all the same. There is a clear connection between the constant increase of tuition and the growing debt of college students. This leaves students with an enormous financial burden during school and afterwards, which impedes their financial participation in Oregon's economy. 

Oregon's contribution to public universities has been cut from 10.7% to 4.9% of the state budget. The state's current contribution to the UO budget is now just 7% of the university's total budget, leaving the university no choice but to seek alternative sources of income and, unfortunately, financially burdening students. 

There is currently no immediate need to increase tuition any more. Students are not seeing actual benefits from the increases that the University is advocating for to meet the demands. 

These are our demands:
We want a tuition freeze now!
We demand immediate structural changes that will include students' voices in the decision-making process.
We demand a student voting majority on all decision-making processes at the University and on the state board.
We demand that University administrators work with students to prioritize state higher education funding. 

Students asked multiple times how we can be part of the process and that we want to be major contributors in these decisions that affect us so heavily. We constantly were pushed away from our questions and were told that they cannot do anything about NOT increasing tuition at the University of Oregon.

Please check back soon to see what we will be doing to say that this is not an answer we are willing to accept! 

Monday, January 21, 2013

How Dollars De-value Education: An Opinion

Disclaimer: Any and all opinions expressed in this post belong to the author alone and are not necessarily shared with LESS T or any of its members.

In my second year of university, one of my friends, who came from a financially comfortably family, got a part time job tutoring students. After a few weeks, we happened to meet and she asked, "how do you find any time to have a social life?" I told her the truth, I really didn't. Between being a full-time student with the regular 16 credits and 10-14 hour work weeks, I was hard pressed to find time to actually go out and party like Hollywood says I did. If I was spending time with friends, it would just be at home, since I lived with two of them. But how does this translate into the problem of rising tuition?
Easy, time is money. Since there are students who do not have wealth parents trying to work hard and climb the socio-economic ladder (AKA the American dream), they need to work. Some of them work part-time, some full-time, some take a year (or two or three) off to get enough money in order to finance their living expenses. Invariably, many of these students also apply for scholarships, grants, award money, and lastly and most expensively, loans. The financial burden that students face pressure them to finish their degrees as quickly as they can, anyway they can. Some universities, schools, and/or departments also have unit caps, so the students need to finish their work within a certain number of units in order to graduate, otherwise they have basically just wasted their time. But if one is working during most of their non-class time, when are you supposed to do homework, study, or care about the subject? You end up letting some classes slide.
"Oh, but Yann, you're a grad student, so everything you do is of interest to you/your major, you don't need to deal with general ed. requirements!" Not true! I am fortunate enough to not have to worry too much about student debt. In fact, as long as I keep my GTF-ship, I'm good to go, as far as budget goes, but that does not mean I have loads of free time to care about every class I'm in. My unfortunate example happens to be French. I have nothing against French. It's a relatively easy romance language that helps with English and German etymology, and the added bonus of a lot of philosophers and literary critics use French. But I have a thesis, and grading, and conferences, and department functions, and union business, and friends and family to worry about. French does not help me write about terrorists in the German literary tradition as much as I thought it would, but it's a department requirement that I learn a second foreign language to a second year proficiency. Unfortunately on the list of priorities, French 202 is probably the last thing I care about. Why? because I just don't have time. I watch "Wakfu" and listen to Stromae and MC Solaar, but do I care about what question 5 of tonight's homework is? No, do I care if it's right or not? no. I only really care about is passing this class, and the next class, so I can get my degree. 700 out of 1000 points, that's it, nothing else matters. And this is the same situation, if not worse, that other students also face.
If you don't have enough money and are working all of your free time in order to try to pay for school, then you really aren't going to get as much out of the education as others. Hell, if you work enough? or if something terrible at home happens? You'd be lucky to be even getting that degree, ever. This is how tuition translates to education quality. You just don't have time to care about anything else except money, and the school's bursar office does not care about anything except your money.
-Yannleon Chen, MA student and GTF of the Department of German and Scandinavian at the University of Oregon.

The Math Checks Out

 In case there was any doubt left in your mind about the funding that the UO has been hanging onto and not using on our education, while increasing our tuition, here is the link to the Howard Bunsis report on the 91 million dollar surplus that our university had in 2011.

Special thanks to our brothers and sisters at United Academics for hosting this presentation on their website.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Student Debt is State Debt

A recent article by Oregon Live details the problems that debt is causing. Oregon's economy, along with the rest of the country, is not recovering fast enough for the state to cover all of its debts. So how do they decide to try to fix this? The state's response to students trying to avoid a slumping economy is to saddle them with debt as well. Now the student debt (which they cannot pay back due to the increase in tuition) has been added to state debt, even though a degree would benefit the economy in the long run.

Full article here.

-Posted on behalf of Judith