May 17, 2010

In Solidarity with Puerto Rico Students

For those who question the vigor of today’s college student activists, I refer you to the University of Puerto Rico.

After cuts of 100 million dollars to the university budget, leading to massive increases in tuition, cuts to financial aid, and staff layoffs, the General Council of Students began a strike that has lasted over three weeks and mobilized thousands of students. Economists estimate the strike has cost the institution, which serve 65 thousand students at 11 campuses across the island, anywhere from one to 52 million dollars. The students are demanding a four percent tuition cap, a policy that was commonplace in the states until the recent fiscal crises.

The United States Student Association (USSA) stands in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the General Council of Students at the University of Puerto Rico. Despite police blocking the delivery of food, the students continue to stand against unjust budget policies that keep a higher education out of reach for the disadvantaged and even middle-class.

Too often, higher education decisions by political and administrative leaders are made without consideration from those whom are directly affected by their outcome: students. When these decisions become so egregious that they bring down the quality, affordability, and accessibility of a higher education, it is the responsibility of students to take action. The protests have been civil, non-violent, and effective; a model in civil disobedience that the USSA applauds.

USSA hopes for a peaceful outcome to the protest and urges the administrators to accept the reasonable four percent tuition cap demanded by the students.

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