Million Student March: 100+ US campuses rally against tuition fees & student debt
“We are people of all colors, genders, and sexual orientation, and we are united to fight for education as a human right,” the movement’s statement reads.
Organized primarily through Facebook by students, numerous marches hit US campuses from Seattle and Florida to California and Vermont. A total of 106 universities and colleges were set to participate, resulting in thousands of students from across the country that joined in.
“Together, we can build an independent movement capable of winning tuition-free public college, a cancellation of all student debt, and a $15/hr minimum wage for all campus workers!” the Million Student March website says.
One of the larger demonstrations could be seen at the University of Texas. Students could be heard chanting "education is a right!" while they marched.
Protesters at University of Massachusetts Amherst demonstrated inside the Student Union building to keep dry. Beyond the demands for free education, they were making their voices heard on left-wing issues such as "rape culture" and fossil fuel divestment.
Many of those who participated in the Million Student March did so in solidarity with the University of Missouri, where students had already been protesting alleged racism for the last week.
The student behind the Million Student March is Keely Mullen, who herself expects to graduate from Northeastern University in Boston $150,000 in arrears.
The average college graduate from the Class of 2015 has over $35,000 in debt, according to an analysis of government statistics published in May.
“This is clearly an urgent crisis, but establishment politicians from both parties are failing to take action,” organizers said.
One of the movement’s supporters is presidential hopeful Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), who has repeatedly been lobbying for reduced college fees. In May, Sanders introduced a proposal to the Senate calling on public colleges in the US to begin offering free tuition.
Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump had a much different take on the situation. He said that the controversial University of Missouri protests – whose concerns are shared by many Million Student March participants – are "disgusting," and characterized the two university leaders are "weak, ineffective."
"Trump should have been the chancellor of that university. Believe me, there would have been no resignation," he told Fox Business Network. "Their demands are crazy."