Pacific students protest tuition hikes

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University of the Pacific spirit rocks with message about protest details. Photos by Catlan Nguyen.
University of the Pacific spirit rocks with message about protest details. Photos by Catlan Nguyen.
University of the Pacific's infamous Burns tower.
University of the Pacific’s Burns tower. Photos by Catlan Nguyen.

On Oct. 18, University of the Pacific students rallied together to protest tuition hikes.

Many Delta College students plan on transferring to UOP or are encouraged to, but with many department cuts and faculty being fired, some students wonder why a tuition hike was still under consideration.

“Although Pacific was never really a cheap option, people go there because of the programs and resources Pacific provides regardless of price point,” says UOP student Rachel Ticas. “Spiking the tuition and then removing the resources we go there for makes it seem so pointless.”

UOP President Pamela A. Eibeck makes enough money as 14 students’ tuition. According to Non Profit light’s website, President Eibeck salary is currently $580,249.

“By comparison, the UC President earned approximately $570k in 2017 and she oversees 10 universities,” said UOP Associate Professor of Sport Sciences Lara Killick in a tweet. “And in the recent compensation evaluation, we learned that faculty are underpaid a collective $3 million a year (when compared to the median market rate) and staff are underpaid a collective $6 million a year (against same measure).”

When UOP’s Board of Regents scheduled the vote to decide whether or not tuition will be raised by 3.2 percent, some students were outraged.

The protest came about after a message written on the spirit rocks appeared over the weekend on UOP’s campus.

UOP has two rocks on campus which were painted twice throughout the weekend of Oct. 13-14, but were covered by the janitors.

Each time they had a message that called for President Eibeck’s salary to be cut. The protest was posted on the rock on Oct. 15, according to UOP student Evelyn Villalobos.

“We recently had an open forum regarding tuition where students felt like their questions weren’t being properly addressed,” says UOP student Mia Saucedo. “In general, students feel like they’re dismissed by administration and aren’t taken seriously.”

UOP released guidelines prior to the protest and stated security would only intervene if it felt there was a threat to the peace. One of the guidelines was that only hand-held signs would be allowed — no sticks.

At 12 p.m., more than 200 students armed with peaceful yet clever signs marched to the Alumni House where the Board of Regents meeting had been moved to.

After the Board of Regents meeting, board member Kevin Huber came out to address the student protesters. He said that despite the vote to increase tuition by 3 percent, there was an added statement saying that the administration will handle future tuition decisions differently.

“I think because there was such a large turnout we were able to get media attention and it makes administration take us more seriously,” said Saucedo.

Numerous professors and employees at UOP encouraged students to protest and showcased how they value their students’ voices.

“A lot of faculty and administration members I encountered the day of and after the protest had nothing but kind and encouraging words,” says Villalobos. “I think they were proud of us. Especially because of the posters and chants that we did saying ‘Save our faculty!’”