Statewide Hunger Strike to Roll Back Tuition! Mon. March 7 - Thurs. March 10th
Mon. March 7th 10:00 am State Capitol Rotunda - kickoff press conference
Thurs. March 10th 10:00 am State Capitol Rotunda - wrap-up press conference
Student leaders at UW-Madison, UW-Eau Claire, and UW-La Crosse will go on a three day hunger strike this coming Monday through Thursday, March 7-10 in the state Capitol rotunda to demand that Gov. Doyle (D), Assembly Speaker Gard (R), Rep. Pocan (D-Madison), and Rep. Kreibich (R-Eau Claire) rollback tuition 37.5% to the level it was two years ago rather than hike UW students' tuition another 14% - almost $1,000 - as Gov. Doyle has proposed.
'Education is a right, not a privilege,' said Ashok Kumar, chair of the Associated Students of Madison academic affairs committee. 'Yet because our state government - under both Democrats and Republicans - has systematically defunded the University of Wisconsin over the last 30 years, tuition has skyrocketed. The UW has become a gated community, open only to those who can pay its steep entrance fee. Now is the time to reverse that trend. If the Legislature can lower taxes for property-owners, they can surely lower tuition for students and our families.'
'This hunger strike is a stand against the increasing segregation of higher education,' added Lauren Lopez of the MultiCultural Student Coalition. 'The Wisconsin Idea says that the boundaries of the university are the boundaries of the state. Yet tuition hikes have priced many working- and middle-class students out of an education. If Doyle's budget passes as proposed, that would be an increase in tuition of 56% - over $2,200 - in just four years. This is a huge issue, and the Legislature is not even discussing it. It's not that I do want to eat for three days, but we have got to do something to make our officials take notice and make a change.'
Over 20 UW-Madison students, TA's, and academic staff have committed to the three-day hunger strike, with another 20 UW-Eau Claire and La Crosse students fasting on their respective campuses. The Madison hunger strikers will remain in the Capitol rotunda each day from 10 am - 6 pm, when the Capitol closes. They will then leave and then return the next morning, having pledged to fast for the duration of the strike. Participants will drink water, but not eat any food.
'We are hoping to shift the debate, to make our legislators know that their priorities are not in the right place,' said Alison Goetsch of the Student Labor Action Coalition. 'This action is merely one step in a larger campaign to ensure equal access to education, from kindergarten through college. There are two easy ways for the state do that: cut spending on prisons and raise corporate taxes. Then we would have enough money for the UW, K-12 education, health care, and all our other social needs. But until that happens, it is going to take the collective power of Wisconsin residents to demand what is right for our community. That is why we are doing this hunger strike.'
You can contact Gov. Doyle in support of the tuition rollback: #608-266-1212