A University of Tennessee student's petition asking Chancellor Cheek to forgo his $22,356 pay raise amidst budget cuts is taking off on Change.org. Already, 700 students have signed (and many have left comments).
The petition author is Andrew Doss, a 21-year-old senior majoring in electrical engineering at UT.
He said, "So many students are working jobs and stacking on student loans so they can attend UT. One of my friends, for example, has worked 30+ hour weeks at Wal-Mart since his Freshman year.
He does so simply because he doesn’t want to take out any more student loans than are absolutely necessary. It takes a toll on him and on his GPA. Many of my other friends are in similar situations. The petition isn’t about changing the tuition increase, and it isn’t the job Cheek has done as chancellor. It’s about the principle that Cheek shouldn’t accept a pay raise during a tuition hike when so many students are struggling to pay as it is."
Comments from signers:
$22,000 is more than I make in a year working full time. Between that and student loans, I can still barely pay my tuition and my other bills. This is ridiculous. If someone is going to get a raise, it should be the teachers or the staff. Or better yet stop all this construction nonsense. Then there will be plenty of extra money for everyone to get some of what they want. -Stephanie Dickey
Recently I have received an additional scholarship for this upcoming year, which I had believed at first will help reduce debt from undergraduate schools. With a tuition hike I end up losing money even with the scholarship. The hikes are being used to help boost our rating to a top 25 school, but he goes the complete wrong direction of how to do it, by replacing things that do not need to be replaced such as the UC. Instead of using the money, or debt taken out, to pay better things in the departments like faculty, lab equipment, or anything that actually related to education, he continues to put it into superficial areas. The money we pay for tuition should actually go to something related to education first, and then superficial things such as a new UC when we can afford it and when have improved the education standards. -Kevin Gayler
Not only are we expected to just take the 8% tuition hike, but UT would like to make it so that every student pays for 15 credit hours regardless of whether he or she is taking just 12. This is utterly ridiculous. And what's with the constant renovation and construction? If the institution were considerate, they would hold off on such non-necessities before considering putting more financial burden on students. I am fortunate to have enough scholarships and grants to continue pursuing my degree at UT for at least another year, but I have friends who rely on loans and on the sweat off their backs. This is making me bitter and jaded about the state of higher public education. Something needs to be done. -Brandon Brackman
The petition is at: http://www.change.org/petitions/jimmy-cheek-do-not-accept-your-22-356-dollar-pay-raise.