NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – A coalition of student organizations from across the Rutgers community are organizing a march to demand a 20% refund in tuition for the fall 2020 semester and a 20% reduction for spring 2021.
Saturday’s event is scheduled to start at 3 p.m. at Sojourner Truth Apartments near The Yard @ Rutgers, by the corner of College Avenue and Hamilton Street.
The coalition is also insisting on “increase(d) transparency about Rutgers spending," according to announcements posted on social media.
Some Rutgers students who participated in the Sept. 26 march in New Brunswick said tuition should be decreased because the school has gone to a virtual instruction model for the overwhelming majority of its classes for the fall – and the cost of classes held via conferencing technology has traditionally been lower than those held in-person.
“The reason why transparency is really is one of our main things is because two of our demands is to reduce tuition for the next semester by 20% and to refund 20% of tuition from this semester,” said Dulce Lina, a senior in the School of Social Work and one of the march organizers. “It is hard to come up with an exact number if where our money is going, isn't public record. So, it would be better for students to understand why it isn't Rutgers decreasing the tuition during the pandemic, if they were more transparent about where our money was going.”
The Rutgers Board of Governors voted last spring to freeze the costs of tuition, housing, dining and mandatory student fees residence education for the 2020-2021 academic year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The matter of tuition is entwined with the coalition’s call for the university to halt its staff reductions.
Last spring, Rutgers officials cited an anticipated $200 million budget shortfall when they declared a fiscal emergency as referenced in certain labor union contracts, which then triggers a mandatory 21-day negotiating period.
There are about 25% fewer part-time lecturer positions this fall compared with last year, a Rutgers spokesman told TAPinto New Brunswick.
“Regarding the writing courses at Rutgers-New Brunswick, we will be relying on full-time faculty and teaching assistants to teach these courses,” he said. “The decision is due primarily to regular fluctuations in enrollment in the spring semester as well as efforts by the university to control costs at a time of unprecedented pandemic-related economic pressures.”