In June the Regents of UM voted to raise tuition for UM students for the 14th straight year. Tuition at UM has now increased 233% since 1990. You Regents are elected officials. You are accountable to the needs and demands of the public you are privileged to serve. Well the public is here. We are here to tell you that you have failed in this service. In raising tuition to such outrageous heights, you have ensured that education is no longer a service for the public good.
What does a two tiered university, a university that is an engine not of equality but inequality, look like?
A two tiered university fosters inequality not only outside it, but in its very core. It creates different levels of access and privilege for “different” students. It gives certain “elite” students ample meeting spaces, new classrooms, fresh food, the latest technology. A two tiered university creates spaces inside itself that are accessible to only certain groups of students: elevators that work only with certain kinds of ID cards, libraries that restrict access to books and study space to certain students, private gyms open not to all but only to a chosen few. The two-tiered university does not attempt to mitigate the radical class, gender, race, and sexual inequality outside its walls—it embraces it and intensifies it, it makes this inequality into its mission, into a means of disciplining students, faculty, and workers in minor and minority programs, programs without rich donors, without corporate investors, or Defense Department money funding their research—it says, if you don’t behave, if you don’t shut up and turn a blind eye to the inequality that we are fostering in the very heart of this institution, we will defund you even further.