EMU Students Will Host A Walkout On Thursday In Response To Budget Cuts

Mar 28, 2018

Eastern Michigan University students will walk out of class Thursday at 10 a.m. to protest budget cuts on campus. 

The announcement was made during a sit-in that students, faculty, and staff held Wednesday afternoon outside the office of the president.  The group wants Eastern to put a stop to staff layoffs and bring back four sports programs it cut last week to save $2.4 million.

Student Isaac Vanderwal took part in the sit-in.

"Walking out shows an even stronger message in this sense because if we can walk out of class, we can walk out of this university," said Vanderwal.

Charisse Nilles also took part in the sit-in.  After working 12 years as a part-time secretary at Eastern, she was recently laid-off.  Nilles believes the university could be generating funds if they do a better job at enrolling students during the summer.  

"You have the infrastructure, you have staff here, you have administrators here, yet there doesn't seem to be any incentives out there to get students to come out in the summer," said Nilles.

EMU spokesperson Geoff Larcom says summer enrollment decreased after the federal government cut funding for Pell Grants.  

"EMU has among the highest of Pell Grant student support in the state among the 15 public universities.  So that's a factor in diminishing summer enrollment," said Larcom.

Larcom added that the university plans to respond to demands made by students, faculty and staff earlier this week, by Thursday afternoon.

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— Jorge Avellan is a reporter for 89.1 WEMU News. Contact him at 734.487.3363 or email him javellan@emich.edu