Million Student March: UMass fights back

We are paying for an education that is going to bankrupt us

If you just so happen to be a student who is worried about the enormous, unbearable, and impossible amount of debt you will be left with after graduation, or you’re working three jobs at minimum pay just to try and make it by, then you were most likely in attendance of the UMass Million Student March National Day of Action.

If you weren’t there, we understand that you were probably working your shitty, underpaid job.

Today, November 12th from 12.30-1.30, UMass students decided that it was time for their voices to be heard, and demanded that the university listen.

Hundreds of students gathered in the UMass student union to voice their three demands:

  • Tuition-free public higher education
  • Cancellation of student debt
  • $15/hr campus-wide minimum wage

If you are doubting the morals or ideals of this peaceful protest and thinking to yourself, “they’re all so young and they’re over reacting, they don’t know what they’re talking about” then you are more than welcome to seek out some of the dozens of professors and staff that were along-side their students chanting. I’m sure that they’re “old enough to understand” our situation.

According to the Economic Policy Institute, the current unemployment rate for college graduates is 7.2 percent (compared to 5.5 percent in 2007). If you are a high school graduate unable to afford the cost of higher education, the unemployment rate is a whopping 19.5 percent.

Over 72 percent of Students who graduate from any UMass are left with an average of $30,450 worth of debt according to the Institute for College Access & Success.

In other words, we are paying for an education that is going to bankrupt us, before we’re able to get a job, to make money, to put any money in the bank… See the problem?

UMass’ peaceful yet forceful protest contained representative speakers of the UMass student body, tapestries hung from the balcony, dozens of student-made signs and endless chanting.

If UMass decided they didn’t want to see us, we made sure they would hear us.

Different chants included: “What do we want? NO DEBT! When do we want it? NOW!”

You can hear some of the chants in the live coverage The Tab did of the gathering.

“They say come back, we say fight back!” and “Mama Mama can’t you see, what this debt has done to me? They keep trying to keep us down, so we’re gunna bring ’em round!”

It was unbelievable to see the amount of motivation and dedication that erupted as all of the student body came together with one common goal: Affordable Education.

As the march continued, emotions begun to run high. Students and faculty could be seen tearing up, holding hands, and standing closely together as the reality of what was being preached began to set in.

While it may started as a coming together, at the end of the day we are all left in a very scary, unavoidable fate upon graduation.

Today the UMass student body stood up and spoke out to demand what should not need negotiating. This was a big step in a very new direction for students everywhere, now it’s up to UMass to decide whether we or not to work with us, or force us to speak out a little louder.

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