LAS CRUCES, New Mexico -- “You actively work to ensure that we remain in poverty!"
These are just some of the brash words spoken at Thursday's regents' meeting by graduate workers at New Mexico State University. The NMSU Graduate Union held a public comment session during the meeting.
Members of the union, mostly graduate workers, have been continuously advocating for tuition coverage, something that is a standard right at most universities in the United States.
According to a news release from the Graduate Union, NMSU graduate workers pay an average of $6,000 in tuition per semester, leaving their remaining annual income to an average of $12,200, a number below the poverty line.
Students were outraged with the regents Thursday, accusing the University's leadership of disrespect and a lack of listening.
"Graduate workers are suffering. We’re skipping meals. We’re missing our friends. We’re missing our families. We’re not contributing to the Las Cruces community because we can’t even afford groceries," said graduate worker Gauge Burnett.
Burnett added that "now is the time" for the University to make a change.
Other students who spoke, such as Bryson Stemock, accused the regents of not prioritizing their funding.
"You spend 15 million dollars on locker rooms when you need a fraction of that to ensure that we can eat," said Stemock.
He added, "you actively work to ensure that we remain in poverty! How do you get so high up in your ivory towers that you have zero empathy for us, peasants, on the ground running this institution?"
"I am disgusted by the way this administration runs NMSU," added Stemock.