Students Stand up group continues a UVM tradition

Students Stand Up (SSU), a campus activist group, has been at work organizing demonstrations and protests of the $10.8 million worth of budget cuts since they were announced from UVM’s fiscal year 2010’s budget this February. SSU has been waiting for a response from UVM President Daniel Mark Fogel and UVM administration on their list of demands for budgetary action that the group has been distributing on campus and to the President’s wing for the past two weeks. Neither Fogel nor any other member of administration have responded or acknowledged the groups’ demands.SSU has said that if Fogel refuses to comply with the group’s demands, they will call for his resignation.”I think that President Fogel and the others we have contacted in the administration sort of think that we don’t really know how the budget works and that there’s nothing we could really bring to the table that is concrete,” UVM junior Steve Hannaford said. “Our education is the product offered to us by the University, so we really have the right and responsibility to defend the product that we have come here to receive, that we are paying for.”SSU’s list of demands include stopping staff and faculty layoffs, disclosure of budget reconciliation options, pursuing UVM’s legal options to utilize the University’s endowment, and capping the tuition rate for UVM students.Hannaford said that if the people providing the education are trying to take part of it away, then it is the student’s responsibility to stand up and defend it. He said that he would challenge people to not be complacent – not even to be optimistic about these issues and that we must take seriously what will absolutely affect the quality of education at UVM.Because there has been no response from the administration, SSU has planned a campus-wide student walk-out, scheduled for April 9 at 1:30 p.m. “We hope to show the administration and the greater UVM community that there is greater support for our cause,” junior and SSU member Will Bennington said. “We want to get out there and inform students because many people don’t know about these issues.”Students who choose to participate in the walk-out are being told by SSU to organize at the green outside UVM’s Davis Center. In addition to advertising around campus, SSU have been presenting their gathered budgetary facts and statistics in UVM classrooms.”They’re bringing attention to things that the school doesn’t otherwise tell you,” sophomore Dana Smith said. “I learned a lot during the 10 minutes that [an SSU member] spoke in my class.”According to Hannaford, SSU wants the demands met and more people involved.  “In the end, what is a university without students and teachers?” he said.