UNC Students Protest Budget Cuts and Tuition Increase Proposals
Last week, N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory laid out a $20.6 billion spending plan, which includes cutting more than $135 million from the University of North Carolina system over the next year. But some UNC students are letting lawmakers know how they feel about the proposed funding cuts.
A group of around 25 students from the NC Student Power Union and community activists gathered in front of the State Budget Office in Raleigh Wednesday to protest the proposed budget cuts and tuition hikes at UNC campuses.
They held signs saying “Don’t de-fund our future” and “Gov. McCrory & Art Pope say state cut back, we say fight back”.
Zaina Alsous, a student at UNC Chapel Hill, says lawmakers need to look for money to balance the state’s budget in other places.
“What they are not really talking about is who they are balancing this budget off the backs of. You will hear students say if my tuition goes up, I don’t even think I will be able to afford to go to college anymore, or I will be thousands of more dollars in debt, and for us to be doing that to our public university system, which has been affordable and accessible for families, we can’t be silent about that,” says Alsous.
Carla Guzman is a senior sociology major at the UNC Greensboro campus. She says the cuts would have a devastating impact on communities across the state.
“These closings would unfairly target HBC’s or other campuses, which historically serve many poor and working class students and families of color. Also, the massive cuts to the UNC system will go on top of $400 million in painful cuts that the system has already absorbed,” says Guzman.
The proposed cuts for the state's public universities could include closing one or more of the 17 UNC campuses.
Republican Sen. Pete Brunstetter of Forsyth County says campus consolidation will get a hard look by his colleagues. He could not be reached for comment today.
His co-chair on the senate budget committee Tom Apodaca of Hendersonville declined to comment.