April 7th, 2015
On the exact same day (February 12) and at the exact same time that the PSU Board of Trustees’ Finance and Administration Committee decided to bring a tuition raise to the full Board, PSU students and PSU-AAUP were at the Capitol for Lobby Day. We all had one month to prepare for the Board meeting. In solidarity with students, PSU-AAUP members attended the rally on March 12 to bring all voices to the Board that a rise in tuition would harm our current and future students. They were not listening.
Our numbers were not large enough to move the Board. In order to push back on rising tuition, students and faculty must work together on many fronts. Over the last several weeks, PSU-AAUP has been in Salem testifying for legislation to offset tuition costs and to address the indefensible costs of administrative bloat. Our statewide faculty association, AAUP-Oregon, will bring faculty from across the state to Eugene on April 25 to join forces on student-centered, educator led and debt-free higher education in our state.
We must build our movement of students, community, faculty and staff to help our policy makers and Boards to understand and to act on our collective message. The saying, “United we stand, divided we all,” rings true for us. President [Wim] Wiewel was quoted on March 12 in University Communications’ weekly faculty and staff newsletter, Currently, “If funding comes in more than the co-chairs’ (of the Joint Ways and Means Committee) budget, then we will lower the tuition increase.” We will watch this together and expect his promise to be kept. PSU-AAUP shares Mr. Miller’s anger, we respect the questions he raises, and it is imperative that we stand together in this battle. It is not going to be won quickly or easily.
President, PSU-AAUP, Professor of Social Work