Brandeis Students Occupy Building, Protest Aid Policy

Sixty students occupied the administration center at Brandeis University for nine hours last Monday, demanding that the administration increase financial aid and admissions of minority students.

The students, calling themselves the Third World Coalition, left the Bernstein-Marcus Administration Center after university officials announced that they had obtained a temporary restraining order which barred them from the building.

"We left before they actually served the [Middlesex Superior Court] order because the administration said that they would take that into consideration in deciding about disciplinary action," Naomi Vega, a Brandeis senior of Puerto Rican descent, said yesterday.

Vega added that Brandeis President Meaver Bernstein had refused to negotiate with the students until they left the building.

The Third World Coalition, which consists of Latins, Asians and Afro-Americans, met with Bernstein several times before the building takeover, but he would not discuss any of their demands concerning financial aid and admission policies for minority students, Third World spokesmen said yesterday.

Room, board and tuition fees at Brandeis will increase by $300 next Fall to $3900. However, although financial aid to middle-income students will increase in proportion to the full amount, the aid to low-income students will only increase to cover $100.

Also the number of third world students admitted to Brandeis has dropped by over one-third in the last two years. Vega said that minority admissions fell from 69 for 1971-72 to 48 for 1972-73.

"Bernstein told us that the university couldn't afford to offer more aid to minority students, and that the 1971-72 admission policy was a mistake. He said that they couldn't afford to have so many minority students--either academically or financially," Vega said yesterday.

Bernstein was unavailable for comment yesterday, but he told reporters at a press conference last week that the cut back was due to the "financial condition of Brandeis" and "cannot be interpreted as a lessening of the university's commitment to promote the matriculation of minority students."

Vega said that no disciplinary action had been taken by the administration yet, but they are trying to identify those students who entered the building. "They promised us that no one would be suspended," she added