University Trustees Try To Duck ‘Occupy DePaul’ Protesters

CHICAGO (WBBM) – Following several days of protests by a small but determined band of students, DePaul University’s trustees went to great lengths Saturday to try to avoid them as they debated a tuition increase.

Told initially that the trustees would meet in the Student Center on DePaul’s Lincoln Park campus at 9 a.m. Saturday, 25 protesters gathered at about 7:30 a.m. A short time later, they were told the location of the trustees’ meeting had been changed and received text messages from Student Government Association President Anthony Alfono saying he was being driven to a secret location, and led in a back door, so that he could not identify the surroundings.

Alfono regularly participates in board of trustee meetings. He has voiced support for the group’s demands for a tuition freeze, at least until a university-wide forum to debate budgeting and spending priorities.

The protesters ended up at DePaul’s downtown campus, and rallied outside the building, at 55 E. Jackson Blvd., in which senior administrative offices are located.

Graduate student James Murphy said he is disappointed, but not surprised, with what one protester characterized as “cut and run” tactics by the trustees.

“It may be that ultimately what looks to us like fat is something they want to defend, but they haven’t even gone that far to explain to us what is going on within this budget,” he said.

Murphy said the budget is “opaque” and “vague” with line items for “new initiatives.”

The students contend that the average DePaul undergraduate student shoulders a $28,000 student loan debt and the average graduate student loans amounting to $51,000, and that students cannot afford much more.

“How much is it going to cost in two, three, four or five more years,” said freshman Stacey Bear. “For my children, how much is college going to cost for them?”

DePaul administration issued a statement which said it is trying to keep tuition affordable, contemplates one of its smallest increases ever, and is boosting available financial aid.

“Like many institutions, DePaul is facing increases in the costs of serving our students,” the statement read. “DePaul makes prudent use of tuition dollars by continually investing to enrich academic quality and provide the best educational opportunities for students as possible.”

The statement noted that the Student Government Association president is a voting member on the university’s tuition pricing committee and the Strategic Resource Allocation committee, which proposed the annual operating budget to DePaul’s president and trustees.

More from Bob Roberts
  • izzy

    $51,000 in debt after grad school is nothing. Me and my husband owed $172,000 combined. We paid it off, didn’t whine and now both have successful careers. These occupiers seem to think they are entiitled to the stuff we all worked so hard for. And, sorry but I heard less than 15 actual students protested. What smalll minority. This really isn’t even news worthy.

    • snuffleupagus

      So you would want students to come out of college with $100,000+ in debt just because you had to? That’s like saying “I had something absolutely horrible happen to me, so everybody else should too.” Don’t be so daft. Most of the people protesting will have graduated from a university and paid off their debt by the time (if it ever happens) they even see these changes being made.

  • Linkage | February 26–March 3, 2012 « trailerpilot

    […] It was a good week for headaches at local universities. More than 125 top faculty members at the University of Illinois signed off on a vote of no confidence in school president Michael Hogan sent to U of I trustees. Hogan “lacks the values, commitments, management style, ethics, and even manners, needed to lead this University,” the letter stated (via @ColonelTribune). Protesting tuition hikes up for a board of trustees vote today, DePaul University students staged a sit-in dubbed #OccupyDePaul that began Thursday. Here’s a Storify from the DePaulia. Developing. […]

  • University Trustees Try To Duck ‘Occupy DePaul’ Protesters – CBS Local | News99

    […] CBS Local […]

  • gobulls

    izzy… My wife and I will be 300k in debt combined. She has a good job, I’m doing alright, but consider what this does to housing markets, consumer spending and income tax revenue. It’s not simply about whether you and your husband can afford your student loans. Think bigger. How does your employer make money? Where do your customers get their money? This mass of loans being dispersed into the economy is simply one pillar holding up a world economy on the edge of collapse. The occupiers have your concerns in mind as well. Although Universities are not completely to blame for the tuition increases (lost public funding hurts as well), they could be a bit more transparent in their decision making. It frustrates me to see presumably educated people refuse to think in broader terms than one family’s current balance sheet.

    Entitlements aside, wages are down as a percentage of GDP. Taxes are down significantly in recent years as a percentage of GDP. The cost of living is rising, though the standard of living is not. This has been researched and communicated to death by the Brookings Institution and other think tanks, but the average voter (or policy maker for that matter) doesn’t understand or loses interest before the end of the boring study.

    This is a problem. If wages do not start rising significantly as a percentage of GDP, our deficit will continue to grow. If the world’s consumer is undercut, your business (no matter the sector) is likely to decline in value. In order to increase or maintain ROI, your business as well as others will likely partake in layoffs. Get it? Apparently they are fighting for your well being as much as their own. After all, an individual can take advantage of the income-based repayment plan, but the debt that’s forgiven will further damage the govt’s balance sheet — thus continuing the cycle. For further reading, google “wages and productivity – the missing link.” Think about how it’s related to the student loan program and large tuition increases. Students have more loans, which lead to lower taxes and lower take home pay for mortgages, healthcare, childcare, retirement savings and consumer goods. The lower taxes lead to less revenue for the fed gov’t. Yet the fed gov’t will be leaned on even more heavily for assistance. “Do more with less” our taxpayers will demand. When it becomes impossible, because China, Japan, India etc. stop financing our programs, violent protests will ensue. Violent protests are good for no one. Why don’t we try to fix the imbalance before it gets to that point?

  • tom sharp

    I repeat myself, for al the naysayers: De Paul should get out of the real estate business and concentrate on education. That would allow for tuition cuts in stead of increases. De Paul has purchased dozens of properties over the last 15 years and it’s tuition has tripled in that stretch.

  • Captain Obvious

    Ok, so go to a public university where you can educate yourself just as well for two years paying what DePaul’s tuition is for one.

    • izzy

      Yep, it’s all about choices. Pick a different, less expensive school. Illinois has some wonderful public universities that are about 1/2 in tuition of what DePaul is. So sick of these “Occupiers” whining about everything. No one every told me life was easy and expect to be handed everything for free.

  • Students occupy conference room to protest tuition hikes – The Depaulia | News99

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  • frank

    In America, the idea is to get deep in debt so that others control you. What better way than to get someone fresh out of college enslaved to bankers.

  • Truth

    This is America. If you are not happy go to another school. When you go to college major in something that will at least help you make a living. For example: if you major in Philosophy, don’t expect to much, except teach and maybe lead an occupy movement at a school.

    • snuffleupagus

      I’ll address each of your points. 1) “This is America”– How very astute of you.
      2) “If you are not happy go to another school”– Possibly a valid point
      3) “When you go to college major in something that will at least help you make a living. For example: if you major in Philosophy, don’t expect to much, except teach and maybe lead an occupy movement at a school.”
      — This is the big one! It is regressive thinking like this that makes the entirety of America’s educational system a failure. If you have every person that is going into college doing something ‘practical’ for the purpose of making money and paying off their loans, you are going to have a very disproportionately dumb country– Can you imagine if every person graduating from a University only had a finance degree? Not only does this destroy creativity (y’know, that thing that sparks innovation and solves problems), but it also makes everything about money. If you really think this should be the case, I’d recommend that you go back to a University and get an education.

      • Captain Obvious

        I’m less concerned about “creativity being destroyed” (to paraphrase what you’ve said) if it means that the result of being “creative” means being an idiot and majoring in one subject area, such as philosophy where your degree will be worthless.

        America today is selfish regarding work. we all want to go to college and earn degrees in what we WANT versus what there is demand for. I understand that not everybody can become a doctor and that not everybody wants to be a finance student – understood. But there is a huge demand in general for workers who have a four year bachelors degree as teachers overseas, primarily teaching English in Eastern Europe, E. Asia and The Middle East. That is where the work is, and it doesn’t pay badly either.

        Or, if you want to study something “creative” – take some initiative and major in another subject area as well in order to satisfy both your creative talents and ensure employment in the future.

        I could care less with whether you want to study something or not as a student, but if you’re going to moan and complain about how you can’t find work after you graduate because you’ve got a degree in photography and there is no demand for such work – you have yourself to blame. Not the state or the federal government. Occupy Wall street has some legitimate points, but this, especially concerning private schooling is not one of them at all.

        Should education, especially public education be as costly as it is? No, but it’s baffling to hear the amount of money some idiots (yes, IDIOTS) pay in order to get just a single, post secondary bachelors degree. Which should not cost you more than $25,000 if you do your homework on scholarships and effectively manage your finances + work throughout school vs. attend parties on your free time. As for lawyers and doctors with huge student loan debt – but you are potentially making twice as much as any other graduate with just a four year degree shortly after graduation in addition to your post-bachelors studies; so maybe you should hold off on the BMW and pay your loans down until you’re financially stable enough to purchase that dream car/house etc.

      • Truth

        Sorry I upset you. No the educational system is not a failure. Student’s should not expect a free ride and student’s should be realestic while pursuing their degree. If you major in the Theatre, you might not win the Academy Award and you might be unemployed a lot. Don’t blame the school and everyone for things not working out.

  • Text of the March 3 Press Conference Delivered by #Occupy DePaul and the Coalition Against Corporate Higher Education (CACHE) | Robert Butler

    […] More links: Statement From March 2 / Pictures + Pictures / Video / Press + Press + Press […]

  • DePaul U. OCCUPIED | Occupy Portland News

    […] links: Statement From March 2 / Pictures + Pictures / Video / Press + Press + Press Students Occupying DePaul University to Stop Tuition […]

  • Occupy345

    occupy movement is going to be frustrated as long as it lacks the guts to protest the government. they’re afraid to do that because they’re still confused about what the obama administration represents (i.e. big money, like the last administration). the federal government is the most powerful element that can affect university tuition (private schools included). the current US administration is confusing to most of the people currently in the occupy movement. they supported obama (as did I) but now can’t admit the administration is not helping them, and they probably won’t admit it for deep seated reasons. actually it’s a bit ridiculous that they aren’t protesting government education policy. until the movement starts reflecting on its principles and gets smarter, it will remain confused and forceless. they’d do better to go to university any way they can, finish well, and then try to change the system. current way is nothing more than an exercise.

  • K

    Many people don’t seem to understand that the “system”, in it’s entirety, is a corrupted force. So “Izzy” you and your husband paid off your student debts, and that’s great, but I find it fascinating that you don’t seem to have questioned why you HAD to accrue such large debt in order to educate yourself. Should it have cost as much? What about those who can’t, regardless of the price of their schools and majors? “Occupiers whining about everything” and “expect to be handed everything for free” are comments based in compliance and ignorance. Just because something is the way it is does NOT mean that it should be so. That seems obvious to me. One should never question the reasons behind the practices which effect one’s life, right? I suppose it is easier to be a cog, unthinking and subservient, than to actually take a look at the larger picture, not just in terms of student debt, but everything that goes on in our country and our world. Does anyone know the real definition of democracy anyway? Why shouldn’t I or anyone else be free to oppose systems that are based in greed by principle? I think anyone, even those whom the system has served well, would do well to open their eyes and do some critical observation of the country we live in. That’s just what smart people do.

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