Ahead of a nationwide day of action on March 4, hundreds of students at Stony Brook University took to the Student Activities Center Plaza on Wednesday to protest budget cuts and tuition increases recently proposed by the State University of New York.
Colorful signs and rhythmic chants lured passersby into the rally, which featured speakers from the United University Professionals and the student body.
After almost an hour on the SAC Plaza, the protest organizers took the rally mobile. A group of roughly 75 students marched to the Administration building loop to board a rented school bus that took them to the Center of Excellence in Wireless and Information Technology complex where university President Samuel L. Stanley was wrapping up a meeting.
Students continued the protest at CEWIT for another hour, with heavy police presence looking on. President Stanley emerged from the building and was bombarded with chants demanding his support for keeping tuition costs low and fighting budget cuts. After quickly taking a letter presented to him by one protester, Stanley was ushered to a car and back to campus.
SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher was also at the meeting at CEWIT, but left shortly before protesters arrived.
The rally had been organized to shed light on proposals by the state and SUNY administrators to overhaul the tuition process at the 64 campuses that comprise SUNY. Those proposals could nearly double the current tuition rates in 10 years, in smaller annual increments.