Students Make Their Voices Heard at Annual Tuition Hearing

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Published April 17, 2019
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The Montclarion
University President Susan Cole and members of the executive board orchestrated the annual tuition hearing. Rebecca Serviss | The Montclarion

Montclair State University invited students to the board of trustees annual tuition hearing to address their concerns. Students proposed some possible solutions to rising fees.

A concern was brought up by Amanda Christiano, an English major who suggested a new idea that the school could enact.

“When I am unable to pay due to a layoff at work or just something else, I am being told I am going to be kicked out of school or suspended,” Christiano said.

She went on to offer possible solutions.

“If there is a program or something that can help students continue to stay and further their education, and replicate other universities where you can continue going but cannot receive your diploma until you’re fully paid up,” Christiano said.

English major Amanda Christiano discusses alternative ways to deal with students who cannot afford to pay tuition on time.
Rebecca Serviss | The Montclarion

Christiano continued even more, saying this suggestion is a way for students to have the ability to continue their education without having to take off so many semesters.

While incoming freshman may be experiencing the hearing for the first time, other students have made it a priority to attend each annual meeting.

Heather Francis, a graduating senior studying international justice, has been speaking at tuition hearings for three years.

She made a statement about how students may not be as grateful as we should be.

“I’m really grateful for my educational opportunity here,” Francis said. “I’m grateful because I can go to school, and I’m grateful that [the school] worked so tremendously hard to receive funding from the state of New Jersey to provide this educational opportunity.”

Environmental concerns are increasing among students at Montclair State. One student at the hearing discussed issues with light pollution in the Dinallo Heights area on campus.

Journalism major Zoey Gleason, a Montclarion staff writer who dorms on campus in Dinallo Heights, has experienced this issue firsthand.

“I hear birds that are awake at night singing to each other. They get confused because of the lights that come in from Car Parc and from other posts on campus,” Gleason said. “I believe this a very well-lit university, and [I’ve] never felt unsafe.”

She continued, sharing suggestions on how to alleviate this problem.

“I do think that if there are certain buildings that lock after certain hours, we can swipe in with key card,” Gleason said. “There should be a way we can shut off all the lights that are not being used and if someone does need to access the building, they can flip on the switch.”

While Christiano and Gleason mentioned issues related to struggling finances and mechanical operations, other students proposed cutting programs on campus.

Freshman political science major Andrew Lyons addressed the board about the affordability of education.

“I’m going to ask you to cut money from programs so that to ensure the tuition increase is minimal,” Lyons said. “I believe that some of the services have become outdated and are completely unneeded, and would be right for budget cuts or [a] complete dismantle.”

Freshman political science major Andrew Lyons suggests funding be cut from The Montclarion to accommodate lower tuition rates.
Rebecca Serviss | The Montclarion

The only program Lyons suggested cutting funding to was The Montclarion.

Two contributors from The Montclarion later rebutted his statement in defense of the multiplatform news organization.

The board then thanked the students and reassured their voices were heard. University President Susan Cole encouraged students to continue advocating for themselves and being leaders on campus.

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