SUNY Purchase College students, faculty, and staff gathered recently in front of the Administrative Building to demonstrate against the state education decisions to cut student aid and raise tuition.
The vent was staged as a funeral to mourn the death of quality affordable and accessible public higher education.
The Funeral for Higher Education was co-organized by the Purchase College chapters of NYPIRG (New York Public Interest Research Group) and NYSR (New York Students Rising) as well as PUSH: Ideas Into Action and the Sociology Club as a part of a national day of action to defend education.
Following a campus-wide procession led by pall-bearers carrying a diploma-filled coffin, mourners attending the funeral read eulogies and shared memories regarding the many losses SUNY has suffered including tuition hikes, massive budget cuts, and increased inaccessibility of financial aid programs.
Bonnie Gordon, a Senior History major and the Campus Organizer for the Purchase College chapter of NYSR said that “state budget cuts, such as the $115 million cut in the past year, have crippled SUNY’s ability to provide quality higher education for students in New York.”
Alex Wojcik, the Project Coordinator for the Purchase College chapter of NYPIRG, added that “these massive cuts may result in student migration and public school reliance on private partnerships that have the devastating potential to impinge on academic freedom.”
Geovanna Borden, a first-year Environmental Studies and Media, Society, and the Arts double-major and NYPIRG Intern, said that “in addition to these cuts, tuition is on the rise.”
New York State ranks tenth in the nation in student loan debt, with 60% of college seniors graduating with debt that averages $26,271.
Both NYPIRG and NYSR are organizing days of action in Albany. Contact Alex Wojcik and Bonnie Gordon, respectively, for more information.