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Message to students: Exercise your rights

By GRACE ANDERSON contributor
On February 29, 2012

On  Feb. 10,  I had the pleasure of participating in the student protest against tuition hikes in Chapel Hill.  The protest stemmed from the outraged students tired of having their education being com­promised by the hikes in tuition. UNC-Chapel Hill's Students Democratic Society orga­nized the protest and brought together about 200 students, representing 16 of the schools in the UNC-system.  It seems as though education is always the first department to be hit with budget cuts.

We can spend trillions of dollars on equipping a military to kill, but we deprive our children of their right to an affordable education. The march began in the Pit of Chapel Hill's campus to the Board of Governors' meeting about two miles away. We made posters, held ban­ners and chanted words to illustrate our frustration about the hikes.

We were able to force ourselves into the meeting because otherwise we would not have had a seat.

During the meeting we sat and listened, for the most part, to what they had to say regarding the hikes.

We only interrupted to present our opinions. Although the Board of Governors did go on to pass the tuition hikes, the fact that we forced them to listen to us and what we had to say definitely made an impact on those in attendance.  

The media were able to report students taking a stand. The most significant part of the protest was the fact that students did not have a vote.

Looking around the table at those who were to vote whether to raise tuition were corporate, wealthy white men and women and a few people of color.

The disconnect between those people and myself and my peers was unreal.

After attending this pro­test, I begin to question the "Democracy " here at Winston-Salem State University.

Are student voices heard? Does our SGA truly represent us and bring our wants and needs to those in charge?  

For many of the WSSU stu­dents it was a hard and maybe impossible road to get into college, and the tuition hikes that we are experiencing -- a proposed 9.9 percent, may make it even harder.

Why raise tuition while there are other places funds can be cut?

As students attending a HBCU, it is imperative for us to stay conscious of what is going on around us.

We must be cognizant of the policies that are being pro­posed and that will affect us.

Our universities are nothing without us.

We need to let our voices be heard, to make our demands apparent and not to remain silent when we are met with an unrespon­sive administration.

My advice to students is to become involved.

Attend the forums about the tuition hikes to challenge these policies and to make certain your peers are aware of these events.

Students have rights, and it is about time we exercised them.

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