Campus participation in SUNY Walkout low, USG nowhere to be found

The Buffalo State Students for Revolution (pictured above) participate
in the SUNY-wide walkout on the steps in front of the Student Union

Najee Walker/The Record

The Buffalo State Students for Revolution (pictured above) participate in the SUNY-wide walkout on the steps in front of the Student Union

Najee Walker, Associate News Editor

In an attempt to stop the raise of tuition at SUNY schools, SUNY New Paltz proposed the idea of a SUNY-wide walkout on Friday, March 4, where students leave their classes and protest against the tuition hike. For the most part, across SUNY campuses, the protest was successful in raising awareness and gathering students.

At SUNY Buffalo State, however, only a small group of protesters stood outside the Student Union to speak up against the tuition increase.

The small group of students called themselves “Buffalo State Students for Revolution,” and were the only students to appear for the protest. The Buffalo State Students for Revolution are currently unrecognized by the United Students Government.

The protest gained some attention from students, faculty and staff as they walked by. Most agreed, yelling, “I agree” and such accolades at the group. Others, however, felt that the protest was unnecessary.

“I’m still paying for this,” one student said as she walked by the group.

“Who is going to pay my salary?” A staff member asked as he walked into the student union.

Though the group may have had good intentions, it seems that they were — for the most part — ignored. Less than a handful of students stopped and protested with the group.

“Everyone agrees, but no one will stay,” said Jamal Saleh, one of the protesters who helped start the protest on Buffalo State’s campus.

Saleh, along with a few other protesters, tried hard to rally students behind their cause, with a very low and unsuccessful turnout.

On March 1, at a USG meeting, USG Executive Vice President Emily Leminger called to action those active in USG to “stand in solidarity” with the other SUNY schools who were participating in the walkout. However, despite her words, no USG members appeared at the walkout.

“USG agreed to be here, but are nowhere to be found,” said one protester.

Despite the support from USG, it was decided at the last minute that the student government would not participate in the walk out.

“We did not participate because we didn’t feel that, as a campus, everything that was being stood for necessarily applied to us based on the preexisting plan,” Leminger said. “We plan on participating and combating tuition hikes in other ways. We still support the idea of a tuition freeze.”

USG did vote not to support SUNY 2020, the plan for which the walkout was supposed to combat. Aside from that, Leminger said that USG also supports textbook affordability.

Unfortunately for the Buffalo State Students for Revolution, the word about the SUNY walkout did not reach many Buffalo State students. One of the organizers, who wished to only be known as “Kathy,” said she wished more students had been reached beforehand.

“It takes a lot of organizing for a walkout to take place,” Kathy said.

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