- More than 1,000 students will withhold their tuition if Columbia doesn’t lower tuition by at least 10%.
- They say online classes are not worth the price.
- Demands include reduced campus police funding and better working conditions for graduate students.
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Some students at Columbia University have pledged to withhold their tuition for the spring semester and are calling for a discount, saying online classes are not worth the money.
In a letter sent to the Presidents, Trustees, and administrators of Columbia University, Barnard College, and Teachers College, the students demanded a 10% reduction in cost as well as at least a 10% increase in financial aid.
The Columbia-Barnard chapter of the Young Democratic Socialists of America (YDSA) began organizing the strike in October.
YDSA ‘s social media coordinator Willem Morris told CBS News that the problem of rising tuition existed before the pandemic but “has really exacerbated this problem for students and students see that they are paying $80,000 to attend online Zoom classes and their frustration kind of boiled over.”
The group said that more than 1,000 students pledged not to pay tutition. The due date for tuition was last Friday.
“It’s a reasonable demand,” Matthew Gamero, 19, a sophomore and one of the strike organizers, told The New York Times. “This is about the university providing an education of its worth, and to have it online is certainly not what we’re paying for.”
While some students have been allowed on campus, most are in online classes.
The group has also demanded a reduction in funding for campus police, improved working conditions for graduate students, and support for the surrounding West Harlem community.
Additional requests included having Columbia “commit to complete transparency about the University’s investments and respect the democratic votes of the student body regarding investment and divestment decisions.”
A University spokesperson told Insider: “This is a moment when an active reappraisal of the status quo is understandable, and we expect nothing less from our students. Their voices are heard by Columbia’s leadership, and their views on strengthening the University are welcomed.”