Pres. Hirshman and protesters fail to meet

Photo by Welsey Beights, Staff Photographer

Photo by Welsey Beights, Staff Photographer

by Camille Lozano

More than 20 students concerned with the proposed Student Success Fee assembled at 9 a.m. in the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union courtyard hoping to meet with President Hirshman.

On Monday, Hirshman had agreed to meet on the terms that he would meet three delegates in a closed meeting. The students did not accept, expressing they wanted to have the meeting in an open public forum.

The students democratically elected Ruth Sava, Bo Elder, Manuel Lopez and Jessika Seekatz as moderators to lead the forum and proposed a live broadcast on KCR radio. Members of AChA, MEChA, Students for Justic in Palestine and other students were in attendance.

KCR streamed the forum live as students awaited the president’s arrival. At 9:20 a.m. it was announced the president was unaware of the meeting although protesters asserted that various forms of communication were employed to inform the president of the meeting.

“This campus that is supposed to be accessible is pushing students of the community, low-income and colored students away,” said Sava.

With the president’s absence, KCR Radio opened its live show to broadcast the concerns of the students in attendance.

“You are a university president, not a CEO,” said Lopez. “Education is not a business.”

Erika Perez, a psychology, women’s studies and Spanish student expressed that students need to be concerned, not just for themselves but for the future generations of incoming students.

“We need to keep advocating for ourselves, for future students, for low-income and colored students,” said Perez. “I will fight for them.”

Camila Gavin, a University of California, San Diego student attended the forum to show her support for the student protests.

“I just wanted to let everyone here know, we stand in solidarity with you,” said Gavin. “Together we can fight.”

The students left the courtyard at 10 a.m. and marched to the president’s office in Manchester Hall chanting, “no hikes, no fees, education must be free.”

They occupied the area just outside the president’s office and continued to voice their concerns and frustrations regarding the fee. Associate Vice President of Student Services Dr. Reggie Blaylock, Associate Vice President for Campus Life Dr. Timothy Quinnan, and the director for Students Rights and Responsibilites Lee Mintz listened to the students concerns.

Three police officers were in attendance at one point during the sit-in. Blaylock stated that he was unable to speak for the president but assured the students that the officials in the room “care for you (students) everyday.” Quinnan said that the students’ concerns would be shared with the president.

“Today for us, it was mainly about listening, reflecting and sharing with the proper administration,” Quinnan told students. “We have heard compelling and resonant personal stories that we will share with the president.” Administration officials declined to comment on the concerns voiced by students at this morning’s forum and sit-in.

The students are planning to protest again in the near future.

Photo by Welsey Beights, Staff Photographer