Thursday, April 21, 2005

Students demand attention for Higher Ed

Over 20 students camped out on the University of Texas campus Wednesday night as part of a weeklong effort asking the Legislature to invest more in higher education issues.

"Tuition is increasing at the same time grants and scholarships are decreasing,"
says Alexis Herrera, a UT student. "Everyone should be able to get a college
education. We need to deconstruct these obstacles."

Students were calling for capping increases of tuition and fees, restoration of the Texas Grants program and passage of a campus free speech bill. Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, joined the students on the south lawn of campus Thursday morning. Ellis has been working this session to protect and increase funding for Texas Grants, a finanicial aid program benefiting low-income and minority students.

At 8 a.m Thursday morning, UTPD officers showed up and told the students they would have to take down the tents until 5 p.m. Michael Cowles, another UT student, says the police threatened class B misdemeanors or academic punishments for the students. "I may have to come out here and camp with them if the police keep giving them trouble," Ellis jokes. "And bring my kids."