ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Early Saturday morning, members of the Ann Arbor chapter of the Sunrise Movement protested the increase in tuition at the University of Michigan and called for defunding campus police.
Joined by members of other organizations, the group stood on the U-M campus to demand the university halt increases to tuition and housing, and reroute funding allocated for campus police.
“Many students are using their family’s savings to get a good education, yet their money is being used to fund the campus police,” said Zackariah Farah, a U-M junior part of LSA Student Government and Students Demand Representation, in a statement. “A budget is a moral document. The fact that U of M puts their money into police instead of their students shows that their priorities are in the wrong place.”
The group protested, sang and beat on pans calling for university leaders to “wake up” to student needs, according to a Facebook video.
The group asked university leaders to “defund campus police and refund the students” by equitably diverting resources to all three U-M campuses.
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The Saturday protest was done in conjunction with the One University campaign, a coalition of faculty and students demanding equitable funding for the U-M Flint and Dearborn campuses.
“The tuition increases shut the door for a whole block of students, highlighting the divide between students who can afford the increases and those who can’t,” said Vivi Iyer, a U-M sophomore. “Covering the tuition increase for their low income students is the least U of M can do, yet they continue to disregard students at Flint and Dearborn. It is time President Schlissel wakes up to these injustices.”
In June, University of Michigan’s Board of Regents approved a budget that included a 1.9% tuition increase and $12.8 million in additional need-based financial aid for undergraduates on the Ann Arbor campus. Tuition increases were also put in place for the Dearborn and Flint campuses.
According to the U-M, a 5.6% increase in undergraduate financial aid will cover the cost of the tuition increase for in-state students receiving need-based aid.
In the same meeting, U-M President Mark Schlissel said that $20 million would be made available for a fund to support student recruitment, retention and graduation at U-M Dearborn and U-M Flint. Some graduate programs also saw an increase in tuition.