from The Daily Cardinal

Tuesday, March 8, 2005

Feature photo: Starving for attention

Media Credit: Nathaniel Greenbaum/The Daily Cardinal

UW-Madison senior Jeff Broxmeyer looks on during a press conference while partaking in a three-day hunger strike for lower tuition.

from The Daily Cardinal

March 7, 2005

Students to fast at Capitol

By Andy Berens

Hoping to stem the trend of increasing tuition, a coalition of students, teaching assistants and professors will hunger strike in the Capitol from March 7 to 10. The three-day fast will protest Gov. Jim Doyle's proposed 14 percent tuition increase over the next two years.

The coalition, which includes the Student Labor Action Coalition, Associated Students of Madison and the Multicultural Student Coalition, among other organizations, hopes to persuade legislators to reconsider the tuition hike.

"It's partly directed at the governor, it's partly directed at the legislators to say that we want our voices heard and we want access to higher education," said UW-Madison sophomore Ashok Kumar, chair of the ASM Academic Affairs Committee.

About 20 UW-Madison students, professors and faculty will participate in the hunger strike, which will commence March 7 with a press conference at 10 a.m. and conclude March 10 with another press conference, also at 10 a.m. The hunger strikers plan to remain in the rotunda from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day and will only consume water and vitamins, according to Kumar.

"We hope that it will be one step forward in changing the debate and making sure that education is a priority," said UW-Madison junior Alison Goetsch, a member of the SLAC. "We hope that legislation will be started to address this issue. This is only one step in what hopefully will be more to follow."

Kumar contended that tuition hikes could be replaced by increasing corporate taxes. While state corporate taxes are the second lowest in the nation, according to Goetsch, and have increased only 43 percent in the last 20 years, tuition has jolted 56 percent in the last four years, a fact that has not escaped local legislators.

"I certainly agree with their aims," said Rep. Spencer Black, D-Madison. "I have been a strong opponent of the rapid increase in tuition and the failure of state government to act adequately to support the university."

The hunger strikers hope to bring the issue to the attention of both legislators and the public before the budget is passed in April.

Madison is not the only campus in the UW System with an appetite for change. About 25 students from UW-Eau Claire and six students from UW-La Crosse will also be partaking in the hunger strike.

"Right now, the average income of a UW-Madison student's household is $94,000. They are out-pricing lower-income families and students of color," Kumar said. "This is the segregation of 2005."

Hunger Strike page

SLAC Recent activities page

SLAC index page