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UPDATED: Fourteen DePaul University students have staged a campus occupation against the university's tuition policy -- the first occupation at a US Catholic university this year.

The following statement was delivered by the members of #OccupyDePaul and the Coalition Against Corporate Higher Education earlier today (3/2/2012):

"We are holding this conference not on property that belongs to all DePaul students, but instead on the public sidewalk, the only place we've been told our presence will be allowed, despite this being our school.

This morning, the DePaul Board of Trustees picked up the Student Government Association President, Anthony Alfano, in a university vehicle. After refusing to tell him where they were taking him, they drove him to a parking garage and brought him up to the trustees meeting through the back door. In an act of solidarity with those silenced by this maneuver, Anthony texted us updates of his situation. They still have not told him where he is.

At the last minute, in response to student mobilization last night, the Board of Trustees and administration has moved this vital meeting to an undisclosed location, and resorted to the secretive transport and restriction of communication with our appointed representative. They have threatened severe disciplinary action, arrest, and police involvement in an attempt to restrict our voice regarding those decisions that affect our education, our lives, and our future. In the face of the undemocratic actions taken by the Board of Trustees; we demand the following, unequivocally:

1. Justice, in the form of a tuition freeze, effective immediately.

2. Democracy, in the form of a public forum fully open to students, faculty and administration alike, on Friday, March 9 at 5:00 p.m., to discuss the tuition hike decision and any such future decisions affecting the cost of tuition.

The entire system of corporate higher education, has repeatedly lied to us, betrayed us, run from us, and condemned us to a lifetime of debt in order to line their pockets. Today we say no more."

More links: Statement From March 2 / Pictures + Pictures / Video / Press + Press + Press

Students Occupying DePaul University to Stop Tuition Hike

March 3, 2012 in Access, Campus Protests, Governance, Student Government, Student Power, Students, The Corporate University, Tuition and Fees

Fourteen DePaul University students have staged a campus occupation against the university’s tuition policy — the first occupation at a US Catholic university this year.

On Thursday evening, students and allies staged an action in DePaul’s administrative offices as a part of the March 1 national day of student action. They met briefly with the university president, who rejected their tuition freeze demands. Non-students were escorted out of the conference room by police at 6:30 pm, and the remaining students left voluntarily two hours later.

Last night a group of students reconvened at the university’s student center in advance of a scheduled trustee vote on a tuition increase this morning. As the deadline for the building’s closing passed, fourteen students decided to remain in occupation. Supporters raised a tent outside the building, and made plans for a 7:30 am demonstration. In an overnight statement, the occupiers declared that the university’s tuition has increased by 35% in the last seven years, and that the average DePaul graduate now leaves with a $28,000 debt load.

The DePaul activists have been blogging at the site of CACHE, a multi-university Chicago activist coalition. Updates on the occupation are being live tweeted at the #occupydepaul hashtag.

8:30 am (Chicago Time) Update | With the trustee meeting scheduled to begin at the top of the hour (9 am Chicago time), students have learned that the meeting is being moved to a new, secret location.

Noon Update | From the Occupy Chicago Facebook page:

The DePaul administration was scheduled to meet this morning to vote on the tuition hike at the Lincoln Park campus. At the last minute, the meeting was moved to an undisclosed location. Anthony Alfano, President of the Student Government Association, accepted an invitation to the meeting. He was driven downtown by administrators, who made him enter through the back door of a high-rise and refuse[d] to reveal his location to him.

This is utterly astonishing, if true: Not only did the DePaul board of trustees move their meeting to an undisclosed off-campus location, but they refused to tell the students’ elected representative, whom they invited to the meeting, where that meeting was being held. It’s like something out of a bad movie.

Occupy DePaul has scheduled a news conference for 12:30 local time. I’ll update with any new info I receive.

12:30 Update | I’ve added DePaul to the site’s map of 2011-12 campus occupations. It’s the 38th occupation so far this academic year, the fourth in Illinois, and — as noted above — the first at a Catholic college.

from Thursday: Students occupy De Paul University conference room to protest tuition hikes

depaul occupy

Students and Occupy Chicago members protest outside of 55 E. Jackson Blvd. on Thursday, March 1, 2012. The protesters are demaning that a proposed tuition increase be withheld until there is an open forum on the issue. Photo by Jeremy Mikula
Around 15 to 20 students occupied a conference room Thursday night on the 22nd floor of 55 E. Jackson Blvd., to protest the university's proposed tuition hike.

DePaul will raise tuition for incoming freshman 5 percent and 2.2 percent for current students. The students who participated in the sit-in, which began around 5 p.m., demand that voting on the tuition increases be stalled until the university held a public forum. Voting for the tuition increase will occur March 3.

At 3 p.m. around 50 students marched to the office of University President Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, C.M., and joined him in a conference room to discuss the tuition increase, according to DePaul student and participant Ashley Bohrer, a second year graduate student in philosophy. Holtschneider has the power to veto this measure at the March 3 meeting.

According to Bohrer, sometime during the meeting with Holtschneider, the Chicago Police were called and at 6 p.m. all non-DePaul students were told to leave or face arrest.

At 6:45 p.m. DePaul students Michelle Havier, freshman, and Amanda Walsh, junior, attempted to join the 15-20 remaining students who occupied the conference room. They said police told them to leave or they would face arrest and interdisciplinary action.

"Occupy DePaul," the name provided to this group of students, will hold a rally Friday at 10 p.m. outside the Lincoln Park campus student center.

By Paige Wagenknecht

A group of DePaul students protested at the school's administrative offices Thursday night to protest a tuition increase. The students want a tuition freeze and an additional public meeting before Saturday when the 2.5 percent increase for continuing students is expected to be approved.

depaul occupy1

Originally posted to Hyde Park Johnny on Sat Mar 03, 2012 at 11:34 PM PST.

Also republished by Occupy Wall Street, ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, and Progressive Hippie.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Democracy Now story on Chicago ed deform (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hyde Park Johnny

    horror show ) :

    Rahm's rent-a-protest puke show was mentioned.

    "The word bipartisan means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out”. - George Carlin

    by Funkygal on Fri Mar 02, 2012 at 12:32:11 AM PST

  •  DePaul should get funding by magic pixies! (0+ / 0-)

    Seriously, it's a Catholic university that's not made of money.  Where do you propose they should get it--by cutting the salaries of its workers?  

    But nobody's buying flowers from the flower lady.

    by Rich in PA on Fri Mar 02, 2012 at 02:33:48 AM PST

    •  As a former DePaul student, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      yes, they ARE made of money. Instead of investing the outrageous tuition costs into giving the students a better education, the school keeps hiking up its costs in order to continue to build pretty looking buildings. They could care less about how good the school is academically. The acceptance rate rises each year. All they care about is making money. And the employees working in food service have had a long struggle in demanding a living wage, something the school could easily afford to pay them, but as of last time I checked, continued to refuse to do so.

      Not to mention, there is a shameful recent history at this university that tries to pass itself off as being the most progressive "Catholic" school in the country in ridding itself of professors deemed too "politically controversial." Look up Norm Finkelstein. And I put Catholic in quotes because only 40% of the students at the school are actually Catholic, and very few are practicing. I'm glad I chose to go to DePaul, but it is not without its problems, and it's certainly not a school struggling for money. Plus the president was also very much in the pocket of Daley. Not sure what his relationship is with Rahm.

      Sorry for the incredibly long response, but as a former student, I'm quite passionate about the school's issues. I could go on even longer, but won't for your sake :)

      •  We need more state universities. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Begging for tuition cuts from a religious corporation doesn't sound like the solution to anything.

        If Obama doesn't deserve credit for getting Bin Laden because he didn't pull the trigger, Bin Laden doesn't deserve the blame for 9-11 because he didn't fly the planes.

        by Bush Bites on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 06:02:56 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Catholic... not made of money... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joe wobblie

      lol wut?

  •  Makes me Proud (0+ / 0-)

    As a gramma and an American to see these kids politically engaged. There just might be hope for the future.


    Thanks for keeping us informed, Johnny.

    “The most important trip you may take in life is meeting people halfway” ~ Henry Boye~

    by Terranova0 on Fri Mar 02, 2012 at 07:56:00 AM PST

  •  A tuition freeze just keeps the status quo (0+ / 0-)

    of a very bad situation. Until tuition is reduced to 70's levels, only students from really wealthy families will finish college without student loans. Also, don't forget about having to drastically cut the cost of text books and student fees. I financed my degrees at a commuter school in the late 70's from my own work - absolutely impossible today.

    I voted with my feet. Good Bye and Good Luck America!!

    by shann on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 05:32:40 AM PST

  •  They held him prisoner against his will? (0+ / 0-)

    Isn't that illegal?

    Is he pressing charges?

    If Obama doesn't deserve credit for getting Bin Laden because he didn't pull the trigger, Bin Laden doesn't deserve the blame for 9-11 because he didn't fly the planes.

    by Bush Bites on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 06:00:13 AM PST

  •  It's the state budget cuts, which is why the (0+ / 0-)

    stimulus money to states should have been tied to not cutting state budgets. In fact, it should have been increased to cover state budgets, one of the more direct ways of reducing unemployment.

    This, too, shall pass. Just like the last global ecological cataclysm. C'est la vie, dude. Take a chill pill, recite the serenity prayer, go with the flow and the moderates into that "goodnight".

    by Words In Action on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 08:14:01 AM PST

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