On September 22, 2017, President Deepa Kumar and Vice-President David M Hughes send the following message to union members:
Dear Union Member:
Punchline: Please watch this video on the fight to reduce tuition costs and share widely. Our Union has been actively involved in pressuring the Rutgers Board of Governors as well as the NJ Legislature to reduce tuition costs and increase direct state funding to our academic programs.
Student debt in the US has now exceeded $1.3 trillion. This is an alarming burden that the next generation is straddled with. Our Union has been active around the struggle to lower tuition costs here at Rutgers because we believe that education is a public good. As a land-grant university Rutgers has a mandate to provide education to the widest possible swath of New Jersey’s population.
Over the years, we have provided our office space for students organizing around this issue and have worked together to find ways to reduce tuition costs. Last year we spearheaded a campaign to reduce tuition by 2.5% in recognition of Rutgers' 250th anniversary. The Board of Governors ultimately voted to increase tuition by 1.7% - one of the lowest increases in recent memory. Though our efforts came up short, it has strengthened our ties with students, their families and higher education advocates. Our Rutgers One alliance of faculty, students, staff, alumni and community is growing stronger as a result.
This short 2 minute video captures some of the work we have done working alongside students.
We have also gone to the NJ Legislature to persuade them to increase funds for public higher education. Faced with Governor Christie’s cuts to the Educational Opportunity Fund (a much needed access and financial aid program providing dedicated counselors to our low-income, first-generation students) we mobilized, alongside others, to resist these cuts. Thanks to these efforts, the cuts were not only restored but the program was expanded by 3.4%. We have actually seen real growth to the EOF budget in each of the past three years, despite the Governor’s attempts to slash it, because of our alliance with students and EOF advocates.
We hope to continue this work. If you would like to get involved please email us. Please also share the link to the video above as widely as possible, even with friends and family. We hope to disseminate our message far beyond the faculty’s usual allies.
Deepa and David
Deepa Kumar, President
David M Hughes, Vice-President
11 Stone Street
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
Phone: (732) 964-1000