For the second week in a row, donning their signature yellow
shirts and armed with a list of demands, students marched to the
Fleming Administration Building yesterday afternoon to protest
projected cuts in funding to and reorganization of several student
services.

Budget Cuts
Vice President for Student Affairs E. Royster Harper speaks to students rallying to protest the cuts to student services yesterday outside the Fleming Administration Building. (SHUBRA OHRI/Daily)

Last week, about 50 students attended the University Board of
Regents meeting where several campus leaders complained about the
budget cuts to the University administration.

Several members of the newly-formed Students Voices in Action
sent demands in a sealed manila envelope to Vice President for
Student Affairs E. Royster Harper, and Dean of Students Ed Willis.
They said the demands are a reaffirmation of the purpose of the
Division of Student Affairs, the organization responsible for
projected cuts in several student services.

“The demands offer an opportunity for everyone’s
voice to be heard, which was not necessarily possible at the
regents meeting,” said Ramya Raghavan, LSA sophomore and SVA
member.

While the University has shown sympathy for the recent student
complaints, they have recently noted the state budget crisis and
the need to cut money from all areas, including student
funding.

Students gathered on the Diag before marching to Regents Plaza,
and were encouraged by rally organizers to pair up and shout out
their aggravations with proposed cuts. Speakers addressed concerns
surrounding funding cuts to the Office of Lesbian Gay Bisexual and
Transgender Affairs and Multi Ethnic Student Affairs, as well as
the loss of an independent office for the Sexual Assault Prevention
and Awareness Center, among other issues.

The rally attracted particular attention from members of the
Greek system, who were concerned about proposed changes to
fraternities and sororities on campus. Members of the Greek
community said they believe the changes, including plans to enforce
substance-free houses and postpone fall rush to winter semester,
risk removing a considerable amount of power from the
intergovernmental organization, as well as hiking up already
expensive costs for the Greek system.

“While not directly affected by the budget cuts, the Greek
community recognizes the importance of presenting a united study
body. In an effort to ‘Unite the Fight’ against the
recent decisions made by the Division of Student Affairs, the Greek
community has aligned itself with the SVA,” Greek Task Force
spokeswoman Catherine Roosevelt said in a written statement.

Following the delivery of the demands, students chalked the
sidewalk inside Regents Plaza and the sides of Fleming with their
concerns about the projected cuts to the student services.

Harper and Willis responded to the rally by listening to the
concerns by members of SVA outside Fleming. Harper acknowledged a
lack of student input thus far in regard to the proposed changes
and tentatively scheduled a meeting with herself, SVA, and possibly
University President Mary Sue Coleman on Monday.

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