Showdown Over Tuition
Student activism found a healthy reincarnation this week at Boston University (B.U.), where students protesting a hike in college fees, as well as other issues, disrupted a meeting of the B.U. board of trustees and briefly occupied the Sherman Student Union on Thursday.
Over 500 students participated in the demonstration, which featured a protest of B.U.'s recently-announced $550 rise in college fees. Police reported one arrest and three hospitalizations after the protest.
B.U.'s price for tuition, room and board has increased 141 per cent over the past seven years, to $6820, compared with a mere 62-per-cent hike at Harvard.
The increasingly irate students allege that B.U. President John Silber is spearheading an effort to transform the Commonwealth Ave. campus into a more "elite" school by increasing intellectual and financial qualifications for admission.
At the same time, students charge, dormitories have deteriorated and' class sizes have increased. Protesters also criticized the university's alleged "union-busting" practices.
In another intriguing development at B.U. this week, "the B.U. exposure," the university's student newspaper, reported that Silber allegedly "sold" a place in the B.U. Law School Class of '77 for a $50,000 donation.
Silber denied the charge, maintaining that a "joke" he made at a 1973 meeting of the B.U. board of trustees' Select Committee on University Needs had been misinterpreted.
Earlie; this year, the B.U. administration attempted to censor the "exposure," a weekly paper that has heavily criticized Silber for several years.
And there's bound to be more to come. B.U. students go on vacation today, but students participating in Tuesday's demonstration have already met to consider plans for a possible student strike, and/or a boycott of tuition payment.