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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


    NYPIRG Leads Students On a No Tuition Hike

    Dozens of students gathered near theAdministration building last Sunday with one goal: to walk all of the way tothe Nassau-Suffolk county border, a distance of approximately 22 miles.

    The walk, organized by the New York PublicInterest Research Group (NYPIRG), marked the beginning of a 245-mile trek fromStony Brook University to Albany to protest the proposed tuition increases andfinancial cuts to New York State’s public university systems.

    The ‘No Tuition HIKE,’ as the march iscalled, is a relay march with stops in every SUNY and CUNY school with a NYPIRGchapter.’ A similar 316-mile march also began in Buffalo on Sunday.

    Marchers, as well as students bussed in for theoccasion, are trying to persuade the state legislature to block Gov. George E.Pataki’s proposed $1,200 increase to SUNY tuition and 15 percent cuts to theSUNY operating budget among other cuts.

    ‘There’s a difference between tough choicesand bad choices,’ said New York State Assemblyman Steven Englebright, aDemocrat and member of the assembly’s higher education committee, in a pressconference before the march. Englebright said that the assembly will rejectPataki’s proposal to withhold one-third of students’ Tuition Assistance Programgrants until graduation.

    Of the approximately 75 people who began themarch, which took them along Nicholls Road to 347 west and then to the JerichoTurnpike, 23 made it to the county border.’ The rest were picked up atintervals along the way and driven back to Stony Brook.

    By Thursday afternoon, some of the NYPIRG memberswho walked the whole way were still recovering.

    ‘I finally was able to walk yesterday,’said senior Michele White.’ ‘We envisioned only a few people wouldwalk the whole way, and so, when I saw that over 20 people were making it, Icouldn’t get in a car and go back.’

    All told, by March 11, students will have walked adistance of 561 miles from Buffalo and Stony Brook to Albany.’

    Englebright said that the assembly is examining alternativesto cutting funding to higher education, including state assets.

    ‘If it comes down to selling surplus propertyor raising tuition and pushing students out of school, I’m going to come downon selling state property,’ he said.

    Miriam Kramer, the NYPIRG higher education projectcoordinator, criticized the governor for giving the beer and soda industry a$42 million tax break and said that the state should ‘juggle’ itspriorities and increase financial aid to higher education.

    ‘There’s a $90.8 billion budget,’ shesaid. ‘?Higher education should be a big priority.’

    Student participants said they are dedicated tofighting Pataki’s proposals. ‘We are the future of New York State’ssuccess, and it seems that the government always forgets that,’ said marcherJuliet Di Frenza, a junior.

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