Students term 2.50% savings “revolutionary” as university celebrates 250th anniversary

Contact: Nat Bender, nbender [@], 908-377-0393

Ed note: Also see Resolution: Rutgers AAUP-AFT Executive Council Calls for Decreasing Tuition

NEW BRUNSWICK…“The time is right and the money is available to take the revolutionary step of reducing tuition at Rutgers,” said anthropology professor David M. Hughes, president of the Rutgers AAUP-AFT faculty union. “Tuition and fee increases for last year resulted in the university amassing a budget surplus of $74 million and an increase in unrestricted reserves of $70 million.”

The union’s executive council passed a resolution Wednesday afternoon calling on the university to use that surplus to defray tuition costs as the Board of Governors convenes tuition hearings, effectively starting the process of setting next year’s tuition.

Students lauded the union’s action. “As a leading Big 10 University it is our responsibility to set the standard for schools across the country, and work to alleviate the financial burden from all those seeking access to higher education,” said Mary D’Anella-Mercanti, a first year student from Haddonfield, NJ, majoring in women and gender studies. “I think the faculty’s call for a tuition rollback is extraordinary.”

“If the administration wanted to do something particularly revolutionary in honor of our 250th anniversary, a tuition decrease of 2.50 percent would fit the bill nicely,” said Patrick Gibson, a third year student from Metuchen, NJ, majoring in computer science and American studies. Gibson made the specific 2.5 percent recommendation on behalf of Rutgers One, a coalition of students, faculty and staff, which has been actively campaigning for tuition affordability and worker justice for several years.

The group will be bringing its demands to the Board of Governors tuition hearing on campus next Thursday, hoping to sway members of the governing body to agree with an unprecedented decrease in tuition as a part of the “revolutionary” 250th anniversary celebration.

“Many professors choose to teach in public higher education to share our knowledge with people excluded from elite, expensive schools,” said Hughes. “We all want Rutgers to remain affordable and accessible to the people of New Jersey and beyond.”

The Rutgers AAUP-AFT is the faculty union representing more than 6,600 ‘legacy Rutgers’ full-time faculty, part-time lecturers, graduate student employees, counselors and postdoctoral scholars.

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