Million Student March Against Banded Tuition

Amy Amrogida and Emma Fletcher addressing the crowd in front of University Hall

Amy Amrogida and Emma Fletcher addressing the crowd in front of University Hall

Although banded tuition’s arrival at IUPUI this fall seems imminent that hasn’t stop some upset students from protesting. Students for Fair Wages, in affiliation with Million Student March and a number of IUPUI multicultural groups, led a protest against banded tuition last Wednesday at 1 p.m.

Million Student March is a college-based organization that seeks to dismantle institutional racism and student debt. On set dates, supporters advocate for tuition-free college, the absolution of all student debt, a $15 minimum wage for campus workers, and the “divestment from private prisons by all colleges and universities,” according to their website.

The IUPUI chapter of Million Student March added banded tuition to their April 13 agenda. Wednesday’s protest had about 30 protesters, a smaller turnout than their first march in November, which saw about 100 students.

Students for Fair Wages has spoken against banded tuition in the past and plan to meet the IUPUI Board of Trustees next Wednesday.

“I expect [the protest] to end in our favor. We will win and we will stop banded tuition here at IUPUI and have the best interest of students at heart,” Amy Armogida, a Students for Fair Wages member, said.

Protesters expressed similar concerns about banded tuition.

“I’m here because, as a returning student, it’s important that people that are on the margins are supported in this,” John Ferguson said. “There’s a lot of different people from a lot of different backgrounds and it’s important that we all have the same access and opportunity to a quality education.”

“I’m here today just thinking about those incoming freshmen that are gonna be attending IUPUI and just thinking about their circumstances and how everybody’s circumstances is not the same,” senior Briana Metzger said.

After passing out signs and noisemakers, Students for Fair Wages member Emma Fletcher took a megaphone and explained the rules of the march: no obstructing traffic, only using the sidewalk, and peaceful chanting. Their chants included calls for the removal of banded tuition and directly addressed President Michael McRobbie.

“Faces of students hurt by banded tuition,” a mural in Democracy Plaza

“Faces of students hurt by banded tuition,” a mural in Democracy Plaza

The group walked from Democracy Plaza, zigzagged around Taylor Hall, Cavanaugh, and the Campus Center before concluding at University Hall.

At University Hall, members of the crowd spoke about why they opposed banded tuition, directing their comments at Chancellor Nasser Paydar in his office. Nontraditional students, returning students, and undocumented students shared their concerns about banded tuition’s potential effects on IUPUI’s student body.

“It’s important that the university understands that the academic experience should be at the forefront, not the time frame in which it occurs,” Ferguson said. “We’re not going away and they need to listen.”