“A writer’s notebook is not a diary. Writers react. Writers need a place to record these reactions. That’s what a writer’s notebook is for. It gives you a place to write down what makes you angry or sad or amazed, to write down what you noticed and don’t want to forget. A writer’s notebook gives you a place to live like a writer.” - Ralph Fletcher
Uniting the students and teachers of the CUNY system Monday was resistance to the decision of the CUNY Board of Trustees, which also unites them, to impose a five-year tuition surge of $300 a year, system-wide. While the bodies in the streets chanted, “They say tuition hike, we say tuition strike,” board of trustees Vice Chancellor Jay Hershenson casually remarked, “What was approved today was a modest and predictable tuition increase.”
Well, anything is predictable if the people in power decide to precipitate it, sure. And it’s only modest compared to some things, like CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein’s $560,038 in total compensation last year, a sore spot for the protesters. Last year, the CUNY Board of Trustees raised Goldstein’s salary by 9 percent, over and above a 14 percent increase in 2008 .
It is worth remembering that, before 1976, there were no tuition increases, because there was no tuition. “This is supposed to be a free education. Tuition hikes have to be compared to that standard, not to how expensive private colleges are,” Phillip, 24, tells me. He identifies himself as a music student at Brooklyn College. “Free college should be the primary goal and if there is no room in the budget for it, there shouldn’t be room in the budget for salary raises for the trustees.”
George Orwell (1984)