MORNINGSIDE HEIGHTS, NY — Over 1,000 students from Columbia University are committed to a tuition strike unless the school reduces the cost of attendance, increases financial aid, and meets a variety of other demands relating to the university’s investments and construction in the surrounding neighborhoods.
A tuition strike signed by 1,300 Columbia students was released Tuesday afternoon.
The students leading the charge on the possible strike “view it as a last-resort tactic to compel the university to listen to demands that students have been organizing around for the past few years.”
“Our mission is to make a statement about the obscene costs of college, even if you’re not rich, you’re still having to pay quite a bit of money out of pocket to attend Columbia University,” Christian Flores, a junior undergraduate student at Columbia, told Patch.
Columbia University did not immediately respond to Patch’s request for comment.
The possible strike also calls on the school to give students more of a democratic say over the cost of tuition and how it is subsequently spent. It specifically emphasizes the importance of Columbia investing in the West Harlem community and ending expansion projects within the neighborhood.
Flores wanted to make clear that the tuition strike was not just meant to empower Columbia students, but students across the country.
“This is a movement to empower students across all spectrums of life, regardless if you’re wealthy, regardless if you’re poor, just because I think that it is important we are acting in solidarity with people at Columbia, and people at other schools that might not have been able to organize themselves to do something like this,” Flores said.
Here is the full list of demands, according to a news release.
- “Columbia must alleviate the economic burden on students by reducing the cost of attendance and increasing financial aid.
- Reduce the cost of attendance (including tuition, fees, and room & board) by at least 10%.
- Increase financial aid by at least 10%.
- Replace the “student responsibility” with grants.
- We also demand that this reduction and increased aid should not come at the expense of instructor or worker pay, but rather at the expense of bloated administrative salaries, expansion projects, and other expenses that don’t benefit students and workers.