On the night of Saturday, Feb. 27th, dozens of students led by the People’s Collective at St. Cloud State University in central Minnesota blocked traffic at a chokepoint leading to the University’s ice hockey arena in opposition to soaring and unsustainable levels of student debt and economic inequalities in higher education. For over an hour, students shut down traffic and rallied outside the nationally recognized Division-1 men’s ice hockey game, resulting in a large amount of commotion and the arrest of two protesters. National Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) stands with these organizers and the struggle against student debt and economic inequality in higher education.
Tuition at many public colleges has doubled almost every decade for the last half-century, which, alongside state budget cuts and skyrocketing administrative spending, has propelled student debt to astronomical and unsustainable levels. Right-wing legislators use the deepening economic crisis as an excuse to defund public education and cut scholarships, and like-minded administrators then use budget crises to hike up tuition beyond students' affordability. Students then take out tens of thousands of dollars in loan debt, while administrators grant themselves ever-increasing bonus pays and legislators pass laws that protect their corporate backers.
SDS demands that instead of cutting classes (especially ethnic studies courses, foreign languages, and humanities) and hiking up tuition, administrators should "Chop from the Top" and end the lavish bonus pays and record-high salaries. Instead of cutting public education and scholarships, SDS demands that legislators stop increasing funding to US wars and border militarization and start prioritizing health care and education. SDS commends the actions taken by students in St. Cloud, MN, and around the country to protest these injustices and fight for what that administrators and legislators will not: economic justice at their universities.
Students for a Democratic Society calls for students to get involved in the activism groups like the People’s Collective in St. Cloud and UMN SDS (Twin Cities) are leading and for an end to the student debt crisis.