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Student call for trustees to reject tuition increase ahead of vote

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The day before the Board of Trustees voted on an upcoming tuition increase, many students from the Ohio University Student Union cried out for no more tuition hikes.

The Student Union rallied students outside Baker University Center on Thursday in protest of a 5.1 percent tuition hike to be voted on by the Board of Trustees on Friday.

Protesters expressed frustration and discontent with the administration for straining already-struggling students. Many detailed personal stories of financial burden and expressed concern about the future impact of their debts.

A small group of students, holding signs and wearing tape over their mouths, silently occupied the area outside Baker Theatre, where they were easily visible to the prospective students filing out for campus tours.

Ryant Taylor, a Student Senate commissioner and coordinator for the Student Union, claimed the university is not being completely honest with incoming families, who may be less aware of the situation. He specifically criticized how tour guides are encouraged to use talking points and spin when speaking to families.

“For the sake of freedom of speech, we need people who are willing to show these families what the reality is here,” he said, adding that first-generation students may be particularly affected since their families have never experienced the system first-hand.

The protest later moved up Baker and onto the street, prompting police presence. An officer told students to get on the sidewalks, threatening them with arrest if they failed to do so. Multiple police cars could be viewed from College Green, where the protesters made their final stop.

Athens Police Department Chief Tom Pyle said they are “discussing charges and identified three people” from the protest for “persistent disorderly conduct” after the crowd paraded through the downtown streets.

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