By Manuel Sandoval |Staff Writer|
Students nationwide protested as part of the Million Student March on Nov. 12 in hopes of a $15 minimum wage for all campus workers, free college tuition, and cancellation of all student debt.
Students from more than 100 campuses including the UC system and some private colleges on the east coast showed their support during the march.
On the Twitter account for the march, students were given chants to recite and advised to walk out of class.
The march was organized through social media and the goals were inspired by a comment U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders made, insisting that it would take a million students marching to make elected officials care about higher education.
“If a million young people march on Washington they [say] to the Republican Leadership, we know what’s going on, and you better vote to deal with student debt,” said U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders.
“You better vote to make public universities and colleges’ tuition free, that’s when it will happen,” said Sanders.
“I understand that more progressive, humane and worldly European countries have cost-free tuition. But their education is not free. Taxes pay for free education,” said student Michael Beato.
“More specifically, a 56 percent income tax, a 25 percent sales tax, and up to 180 percent tax on cars pays for their free education. No American would support taxes this high. As always, free things aren’t always free,” continued Beato. A recent study by Kaplan Test Prep, an educational counseling leadership program, found that more than 40 million Americans carry student debt.
A nationwide $15 minimum wage for campus employees and free tuition at public colleges are lofty goals. Abolishing the country’s more than $1.2 trillion in student debt is an even bolder demand, according to Time.com.
“I don’t think minimum wage should be increased because then to compensate for that we would probably have to raise tuition once again,” said student Elizabeth Chacon.
“I truly feel that individuals using their first amendment right to voice their opinion about an issue as far as a $15 an hour minimum wage increase should not be allowed for many reasons,” said student Timothy Tyler.
“It’s horrible seeing students being left in thousands of dollars of debt after graduation and there is no explanation from legislators or the Board of Education on how we are going to clearly handle this,” continued Tyler.
According to Time.com, there are advocates pushing to make student debt easier to discharge in bankruptcy court.
There is currently a group of students, from the now shut down, for-profit Corinthian College, who are refusing to pay their debt, according to Time.com.
The average debt load for undergraduate borrowers is $27,670, according to the U.S. News Data.
“I think this is an issue that needs to be taken care of very fast before we have millions of graduates that cannot get a job, therefore they cannot pay off their loans; and that’s bad for the future of California,” said Tyler.