OAKLAND (KDKA) — Students at the University of Pittsburgh were shocked to find the door to Chancellor Mark Nordenberg’s office locked and barred by police when they sought to present a petition calling for a freeze on student tuition.
Student: “Why are there police in front of the chancellor’s office?”
Police: “Just for security purposes — to make sure they’re no problems.”
Students said they weren’t the problem and this treatment was offensive.
Student: “I walk through this hallway on a daily basis and it’s never been like this before.”
Student: “Usually they’re not police officers at the stairwell, at the elevators, at the entrances. That’s a little bit out of the ordinary around here.”
The student rally began earlier in Schenley Plaza collecting signatures. Organizers said students loans — now a record trillion dollars — are unacceptable.
“We are the future and we are the ones that will be going onto the job field,” Leah Marmo of Indiana, Pa. told KDKA money editor Jon Delano. “Why should we be getting these enormous amounts of debt to hold onto?”
Identifying with Occupy Wall Street, students said banks got bailed out, but not students.
“Students are graduating and there are no jobs out there for students to repay this debt,” says Josh Zelesniak of Downingtown, Pa.
Outside the Chancellor’s office, students waited until a vice chancellor opened the door to take their petition — but not to discuss their issue.
Students said they came to dialogue peacefully, “and we were met with police officers and locked doors.”
Unable to meet with the Chancellor on Friday, Pitt students vowed that they would come back to his office in the days and weeks ahead until they had a chance to meet with him and other university officials about their plan to freeze tuition at Pitt.
University officials said they would consider the students’ proposal. In a statement late Friday, university officials said they had worked hard to avoid placing the entire burden of state budget cuts on students.