Occupy Chicago Press Committee
DePaul Students Organize Rally, March, and Speak-out Against Crushing Student Debt and Proposed Tuition Hikes – Following 5 Hour Occupation of the Presiden’t Office the Night Before. Students Demand Saturday Vote on Tuition Increase be Postponed Until Public Forum Can Be Held. Jesse Jackson and the RAINBOW/PUSH Coalition will attend.
Following a 5 hour occupation of the Office of the President the night before, DePaul students are now calling for a mass mobilization of all students, teachers, activists, and debtors tonight at 10:00 PM outside of the DePaul Student Center in Lincoln Park (2550 N.Sheffield Avenue 60614). After demands to postpone the vote by the Board of Trustees this Saturday were refused by Father Holtschneider (Depaul President) yesterday, students remained in the President’s office for 5 hours as arrests were threatened. The rally tonight will re-articulate their demands to freeze tuition and postpone the vote of the Board of Trustee’s until a public forum can be held with the DePaul administration, allowing those who are affected and compromised by the tuition hikes into the decision making process. It is confirmed that Jesse Jackson and the RAINBOW/PUSH Coalition support the DePaul student’s demands and will attend tonight’s event.
The rally tonight and yesterday’s actions are all occurring within the larger context of the national STUDENT DEBT CRISIS. Student debt is now the largest debt bubble in the nation (exceeding credit card debt as of this year), tuition rates have risen over 400% in the last 25 years (far above the rate of inflation), and the collection rights of student loan companies are more expansive than any other loan system. As education has been privatized and government funding has decreased, student have been forced to leave school with absurd, untenable, and insurmountable quantities of debt.
At DePaul (the most tuition-based institution in the nation), expansionist policies have caused tuition to rise 35% in the last five years, causing the average student to leave with $28,000 in debt and the average graduate student with $51,000. As seen in the last few days, students are not willing to accept these conditions any longer and are rallying again tonight to make their voice heard.