ITHACA. N.Y.--The student protest over Cornell University's proposed tuition increase culminated last week in the takeover of the president's office, and a rally that attracted 700 students.
Seventeen Cornell students occupied the office of Frank H. T. Rhodes, president of Cornell, for three hours last week to protest the 15 to 18 per cent tuition increase proposed for next year
Cornell safety officers, wearing riot helmets and armed with pistols, forced their way into the president's office and ejected the students, who did not resist. Rhodes, who was not in his office at the time of the takeover, ordered the officers to eviet the students, a University spokesman said, adding that the students will be prosecuted for violating the campus code of conduct.
The students who occupied Rhodes office said they oppose the proposed tuition increase, and demand that students be allowed to have "full democratic participation" in the budget making process. In a student list of demands, the students also demanded access to all budgetary information and that the administration recognize that the effect of the proposed tuition increase would discriminate on the basis of race and class.
Rhodes said "there can be no excuse for the behavior of those students involved" in the occupation, adding that lawlessness and disruption are not part of the "essence of a university community."
Students involved in the takeover said their sit-in succeeded in raising community awareness of the planned tuition increase. The takeover "was definitely successful...our objectives have been accomplished." Audrey D. Tajada, a participant in the takeover, said after the incident.
The day following the takeover. 700 students marched to protest the tuition increases, while the trustee executive committee met to discuss next year's budget. The ralliers listened to five speakers before marching to the location of the executive committee meeting.
Cornell "loses sight that it is a university, not a coroporation," Gary S. Guzy, a student trustee, said at the rally, adding that "There hasn't been any open free exchange of ideas."