UVA Student Network Rallies for Action on Inequalities - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

UVA Student Network Rallies for Action on Inequalities

Posted: Updated: 10/6/2013 5:17:02 PM
Students rallied in front of UVA president Teresa Sullivan's house on Sunday. Students rallied in front of UVA president Teresa Sullivan's house on Sunday.

Students from across the commonwealth rallied at the University of Virginia Sunday to call for action on inequality in higher education. The students marched to university president Teresa Sullivan's home to deliver a list of demands to help break down barriers that divide groups at UVA.

The Virginia Student Power Network headed up the rally for a response to four inequalities they say need to be addressed at UVA. The organization is based on the ideas that education is a basic right and public universities should serve the public good.

"It was a good opportunity to build coalitions and to talk about solidarity and to start to think really creatively about what we as students can do to change some of the inequalities we see facing some of our peers," said Laura Goldblatt of the UVA Living Wage Campaign.

The group marched from Brooks Hall to Sullivan's house on Carr's Hill Sunday to deliver a letter outlining four specific concerns. The network of students wants the administration to develop a concrete plan of action to address the lack of socioeconomic and racial diversity at UVA.

Students say this goes hand in hand with recent cuts to the Access UVA financial aid program. "This will severely affect the amount of low-income students who view UVA as an accessible university," said Ashley Blackwell, a member of VSPN.

"There were a group of students here that were particularly upset about these cuts because they are seeing them across the state and UVA often sets the standard for the state," Claire Wyatt, also of VSPN, said.

The group is also demanding a living wage for all UVA employees. "We're a very wealthy university and the budget is a list of priorities and we insist the people who make this university run should be a priority," Goldblatt said.

Protesters are calling for the university to enroll more undocumented students from Virginia. "I just want to make the difference so that they're really able to reach their dreams," Dayanna Torres of VSPN said.

The students are requesting Sullivan issue a written response and allow public comment on the inequalities. They're also demanding a private meeting to include a small group of representatives within the next three weeks.

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