Ball State students react to IU strike

The Daily News

Capt.Thomas Lee of the Indiana University Police Department yells at a protestor to clear the sidewalk on April 10, 2013 outside of the Trustee Meeting. University students are protesting tuition hikes and diversity of the campus. PHOTO PROVIDED BY CLAYTON MOORE AND THE INDIANA DAILY STUDENT
Capt.Thomas Lee of the Indiana University Police Department yells at a protestor to clear the sidewalk on April 10, 2013 outside of the Trustee Meeting. University students are protesting tuition hikes and diversity of the campus. PHOTO PROVIDED BY CLAYTON MOORE AND THE INDIANA DAILY STUDENT





Student protests on one college campus in Indiana leads Ball State students to question the efficiency of a walkout. 

Indiana University students and faculty staged a walkout Thursday and Friday, looking for an immediate lowering in tuition and to double the percentage of minority student enrollment, the Indiana Daily Student reported.

Nearly 250 students, faculty and staff took to the streets, organizing under the banner “IU on Strike.”

“The university has sort of turned into an institution based on producing workers and making profits, excluding certain people and exploiting the workers,” student Stephanie McGee, a participant in the strike, told the Indiana Daily Student.

Due to cuts in state funding, IU has seen a 3.5 percent increase in tuition charges. The 5-year average of tuition increases at Ball State is 4.1 percent annually. 

Joan Todd, executive director of public relations at Ball State, said decisions of funding, and ultimately tuition cost, are based on the budget set by the Indiana senate. Tuition costs for the 2013-14 school year have not been calculated.

“As always, delivering a quality education, affordabily, is our top priority,” Todd said. After the release of the state’s budget, which must happen by April 29, the Board of Trustees will release a budget, which happens in late May, Todd said.

Several Ball State students, however, said they wouldn’t participate in a walkout or protest, and don’t necessarily believe one would be effective.  

“I can’t say I would walk out,” junior music performance major Jeff O’Rear said. “I don’t think it would do anything.”

Lucas Baughman, a freshman music media production major, said protesting or petitioning the university is irrelevant, and students need to focus on showing the benefits for students and the state of lower tuition. 

Baughman said if IU is successful in eliciting change, or at least gaining community support, they are representative of all Indiana college students. 

“One person may not feel like they can make a change, but if one college convinces them to get more money it’s going to give people courage to look for more,” he said. 

Along with a cut in tuition, IU students were protesting the low percentage of black students and faculty.

Currently, 4.1 percent of IU students are black, and the university has pledged to double that to at least 8 percent. Black students at Ball State make up 6 percent of the student population. 

“An inclusive and welcoming environment is critical to the university achieving its mission,” Todd said. “There are well established processes for investigating and resolving complaints should they arise.”

Senior psychology major Ramaro Barnes said he doesn’t think a protest would help, but he sees a significant culture barrier at Ball State.

“It seems like there is an inclusive environment, but there really aren’t that many black teachers,” he said. 

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