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Dec.03, New York City: Occupation at one of last tuition free universities in the country

Dec.03, New York City:
Students Occupy Building to Resist Tuition Fees

Cooper Union students seized the clock tower atop the school’s headquarters and hung a banner urging the administration to keep the school tuition-free for undergraduates.

The school has not made a decision on charging tuition for undergraduates. But in April, it decided to begin charging tuition to graduate students for the first time in its 110-year history. The school’s president, Jamshed Bharucha, said then that he was searching for ways to keep undergraduate education free for classes after the one entering in 2013.

To understand the context better, it helps to know that Cooper Union is a private college fully dependent on private donors and with around 1,000 students.

Cooper is considered to be one of the most prestigious colleges in the United States [...].

As a result, Cooper Union is one of the most selective colleges in the United States, with an acceptance rate generally below 10%, with both the art and architecture schools' acceptance rates often below 5%. Cooper Union experienced a 20% increase in applications for the 2008–2009 academic year, further lowering the acceptance rate.


The protesters released the following statements:

Siegen, Nov.7: Rectorate occupied !!

Siegen, Nov.7th:
150 Students occupy University Rectorate

The following is a translation of the press release of those who occupied the rectorate at the University of Siegen (Germany), located in the city centre, following a general assembly earlier today.


The protests of the students just reached a new high at 11:10am:

A part of the protest group occupied the rectorate at the University of Siegen. The protest group is independent of all pre-existing student bodies and consists of students from all faculties, who are more than unsatisfied with the current conditions at the university. With this occupation we don't only want to vent our anger through a disruptive action, but create a space, which can be used to critically reflect on and discuss the role our university as well as the education system as a whole within society.

We give our protest a wider perspective, than to just get rid of temporary grievances, and a space, which we can't don't have available on our overcrowded campus. The protest of many participants is linked to their hope, that through our criticism and demands something would change. That we ourselves can create change. But what should change? And how would it be better? What do we imagine when we hear "humanly shaped future", the motto of the university decided by our rector - and why does nobody, but ourselves, speak of a humanly shapred present? And could our ideas and visions actually be turned into reality under the given conditions? What are the possible scopes within the systems and when do we hit the boundaries? 

What roles does the 'ivory tower' university even play in our society? And who is the correct addressee for our criticism and demands? Who is responsible for these unreasonable conditions, and who could change something about this administration of misery? Or can't the grievances even be traced back to individual protagonists, like the rector?

We want to discuss these questions with students, but are not anymore willing to be lulled into 'future talk' by the rector again! This occupation of the rector's office is therefore a deliberate break from previous forms of protests.

For a truly humanly future,
the protest group from the occupied rectorate.

Original in German: (.pdf)

UPDATE: Following threats to have the occupation violently evicted by riot police, the students left the building again in the evening. (

media reports and other sources (in german): + + +

Taipei, Nov.7: Increase of tuition fees sparks more protests

Taipei, Nov.7th:
Increase in Tuition Fees sparks more Protests

Now it is official: Universities in Taiwan can increase tuition fees by 5-10% per year from 2013 onwards.
To make a stand against this policy hundreds of students, workers and teachers' union activists planned to occupy the second public hearing organised by the National Academy for Educational Research (NAER) in Taipei. The first public hearing was already successfully occupied on October 30th.

Unexpectedly. the NEAR called off the public hearing a day before. In light of these developments students, labor workers and teachers rallied at the Ministry of Education and decided to protest the tuition fee policy there. According to activists on the ground police forces prevented the crowd from breaking through the gates of the ministry.
For now, the government announced that tuition fees at colleges will not rise for the next semester only.

mainstream media report:

Sri Lanka, Sept. 24-28th: Long Marches for Free Education

Sri Lanka, Sept. 24-28th:
Long Marches for Free Education

For months lecturers in Sri Lanka have been on strike in the struggle for proper funding of public education. On August 29th thousands already took to the streets of Colombo and clashed with riot police. For details on the aims of the protests as well as pictures of that day check out

For five days (Sept 24-28th) thousands of students, lecturers, parents and others took part in two long marches for free education. Each march covered a distance 120km. One march, which was organised by the Inter-University Student Federation (IUSF) among others, departed from city of Kandy. The other march, which was organised by the Federation of University Teachers Associations (FUTA) among others, began in Galle. Both headed to Colombo and ended in a huge rally.

Check out the video below.

Take a look at this video in english:

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