Letter: CEPA demands to meet with Board of Trustees
Dear Chairman Manning,
We are disappointed you denied our request to speak in front of the Board of Trustees April 12, 2017 due to “a full agenda.” As students, the ability to speak in front of our Trustees is vital to our involvement in decisions that have an enormous impact on the entire University of Massachusetts community.
We will not be attending today’s meeting because you have silenced students who wish to talk about the high cost of their public education. How can you make major financial decisions without speaking to those who are directly affected by your actions?
We were looking forward to having a discussion about the cost of the UMass system, particularly in light of upcoming tuition and fee increases. Students increasingly bear the heavy burden of higher education costs. Tuition and fees have gone up since 2001, and the average UMass student graduates with $28,000 in debt according to a 2012 report. Further hikes make public higher education less accessible to all young people in the Commonwealth, particularly low-income students and students of color, who you claim to support.
Rising student debt will constrain an entire generation of young people. If student loan borrowing is to continue at the levels it was in 2012 it will continue to cost our state $2.4 billion in forgone savings and equity. We are not living up to the UMass mission statement to keep college “affordable” and “accessible.”
Students deserve honest and open communication about these serious issues because, at the end of the day, you serve us.
We demand a meeting before May 19 with you and President Meehan to discuss these matters. How can you make a decision on tuition increases without listening to students? Please reach out with available dates and times for the meeting by Tuesday, April 18. If not, we will make our voices heard by other means. We look forward to hearing from you soon.
The Center for Education Policy and Advocacy