Students clashed with police yesterday after the CUNY Board of Trustees voted nearly unanimously to raise tuition 31 percent over the next four years.
Four protesters were arrested, police said. Two were charged with reckless endangerment, one for harassment and another for disorderly conduct. They were part of a group of nearly 500 angry students that decried the $300 tuition hike outside Baruch College in Gramercy.
“This city is expensive,” said Meli Rodriguez, 18, a CUNY sophomore from Queens. “$300 for me is a lot of money.”
She said the board is blind to the student’s plight. “$300 for them is one dinner,” Rodriguez said. “$300 for me is two months of groceries.”
Despite student outcry, the board voted 15 to 1 to approve the tuition hike. Kafui Kouakou, the student trustee, was the sole “nay” vote.
The approval means undergrads would pay $6,330 tuition a year by 2015, compared with last year’s tuition of $4,830.
Baruch College administrators prepared for the vote by shutting down the campus and canceling classes after 3 p.m., afraid of what bad news might bring.
Students marched up and down Lexington Avenue, angry about the vote, but not altogether surprised.
“It was going to happen no matter what,” said Lindsey Freer, 30, an English graduate student from Astoria. “The point was to get as many people out here to publicly shame them.”
Bill Crain, a tenured psychology professor at the City University, rushed from his seat toward the board moments after the meeting began last night.
Wearing a sign around his neck that read “Apologize,” he demanded that the board show remorse for arresting students.
Last Monday, students stormed a board of trustees discussion of the tuition hike and 15 were arrested. “I want them to apologize for beating students,” Crain said. “The hike is a betrayal of this university. They will drive low-income students away.”
Follow Emily Anne Epstein on Twitter @EmilyatMetro.