Maricopa Community College Board Members Confronted By Upset Students, Educators On Tuition Hike

BOARD.jpg
Celso Mireles
Laurita Moore, an educator and an activist, giving the board hell.
​The first person to stand up and address the board at yesterday evening's Maricopa Community College Board meeting wanted to inform them about the Model UN team's successes at Chandler-Gilbert Community College.

The next 25 were there to condemn the board's recent tuition hike for "out of state" students, a euphemism in this case for undocumented students.

Antonio Valdovinos, a student at Gateway Community College, kicked the barrage of criticism off, declaring he had come "to face the people who voted in secret to raise tuition" on undocumented students. It didn't get any more pleasant for the board as a wave of students and educators in the community college system, including financial aid counselors and professors, stood up to hammer them in the harshest terms.

At issue is a recent tuition increase by the Maricopa Community Colleges. In-state students, or legal residents of Arizona for at least one year, had their tuition hiked by five dollars for the coming school year at the most recent board meeting. The increase for out-of-state students, however, was almost 250%, from $96 per credit to $317.

Undocumented students are forced to pay out-of-state tuition, without the benefit of federal financial aid, by Arizona law, after voters approved Proposition 300 in 2006. Undocumented students have circumvented the measure by taking two classes or six credits per semester at Maricopa Community Colleges, since the cost of enrollment is lower for out of staters who take a part-time schedule than it is for those full-time.

The board's recent tuition hike, however, charges out-of-state students $300 per credit even if they are only part-time students. That prices community colleges out of the average undocumented students' price range, which board president Randolph Lumm warned was "targeting" undocumented students. This provoked a passionate outpouring of denunciations at last night's meeting.

Gateway Community College student Flor Moreno chastised the board after Valdovinos for sending the message to students that "you can't achieve," and promised to personally boycott the colleges.

Johnny Moreno stood up and asked, voice cracking, "Is this not the land of opportunity?"

Melissa Henry, an admissions counselor at Gateway Community College, compared Arizona to Nazi Germany, saying the Germans didn't start with murder but rather by limiting opportunity for the people they didn't care for. She added that the board's decision makes it difficult for normal out-of-state students, who have already committed to attending schools in the fall, to follow through on their education.

A southern belle named Kaitlin Cobb concurred later in the evening, saying she had come to Arizona from South Carolina to take classes at Paradise Valley Community College but could no longer afford to do so.

A few high school students spoke. One boy, Cody, said he'd registered to attend Gateway Community College but was going to withdraw because he can't understand how people can be so "hateful." A 17-year old Navajo student named Marli said she wants to be a counselor someday to help people, then added, "If you take someone's education away, you take away their freedom. If you take away their freedom, they have nothing left."

Three other high school students simply said they were excited about going to college but no longer planned on attending. One college sophomore rose to say he did not support the tuition hike.

Several students and activists threatened the board with the only words politicians ever understand: dollars and re-election. Danny Palomino pledged to help steer students away from Maricopa Community Colleges. "This will hurt your reputation and your pockets," he said of the tuition increase.

Dulce Matuz, a Phoenix-area real estate agent, echoed the sentiment.

Daniel Rodriguez, an ASU graduate who completed one year of law school but cannot finish due to the prohibitive cost of out-of-state tuition, stated his intention of leading a political campaign against the members who voted for the tuition hike during the next election.

Erika Andiola, another DREAM Activist, stood up to say that she didn't know what to tell her younger sister when she asks if she will be able to go to college in Arizona. Another student, Lorenzo Santillan, who achieved a level of fame several years ago as a member of the Carl Hayden Robotics Team that beat MIT students in a competition, said he brought his nephew to the meeting "so you can explain to him why he can't go to college, even though it says 'community college.' Imagine that."

Things got emotional as Laurita Moore, who identified herself as a professor at an "undisclosed" community college to avoid violating district rules, said she's been funding an undocumented student per semester. But with the hike, she can no longer sponsor a student.

"You don't pay me enough to do that anymore!" she roared, to laughter and applause.

The board members did not comment, per Arizona's open meetings law, which forbids them from addressing anything at a meeting that is not on the public agenda. Controversial board member Debra Pearson, whose hypocrisy we've spotlighted in our coverage of the controversy, seemed to be ignoring the first few speakers at the podium before paying attention to the last few.

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26 comments
154443
154443

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Flor Moreno
Flor Moreno

@Not me so you perfer to have ignorace in the US that people who are educated IDK if you are educated or not but this are students that want to help out in the country people who are trying to become lawyers, doctors, nurses, engeniers, ect important people who are going to help out the communities who is going to benefit out of their studies THE AMERICAN COMMUNITY... Keep in mind it is affecting students who are from others states who come here to AZ to get their education that are "legal" this country was build up from immigrats all you who claim to me US CITIZENS your ansesters were illegals here.. their is no reasoning with ignorant (as some of you are) people you will never understand the meaning of equality because your ignorance blinds you to understan that every single human being has the right to better their life to better their education... I am one of the students who spoke that day I was born here in the US I spoke because what is being done is not unfair and retarded. i will fight for what is right....

Guest0145
Guest0145

Damn thats messed up can I get your number so i can hit that easy too lol married chicks stay easy and crazy thats why im single! LOL!

Anonymous00018
Anonymous00018

http://www.azfamily.com/news/l...

Isn't this you? I thought I recognized the name in a article last year

boredhispanic480
boredhispanic480

Wow!!! I just looked at this article and then this one from last year on the link that's crazy that someone like her is trying to act concerned when she can't even take care of herself talking about boycotting go ahead I doubt anyone would care and WOW!!! Anonymous00018 you must read a lot of the web articles to remember that someone has a little to much time but good looking out people like that shouldn't even be trying to preach about anything good when doing something as bad as she and that other individual have done they are definitely lacking moral scruples

Flor Moreno
Flor Moreno

Its pretty funny how you are all quick to judge on a subject that is non of your concern plus that anonymous person im pretty sure i  have an idea of who it is.. If you have no clue of what happen or what occured you have to reason to judge or speak on a subject that your not involved in, makes you as ignorant as all this ppl who want the tuition hike to be inforsed oh and one thing has nothing to do with the othere. Ignorance will lead you nowhere  

boredhispanic480
boredhispanic480

oops I used that anonymous guys name I'm not used to commenting on things so sorry guy I think I copied and posted your name on my reply to your comment 

Flor Moreno
Flor Moreno

Yes it is but what does that have to do with this.... What your basing your opinion of me on this incident with out knowing facts

a suggestion
a suggestion

I moved from NY and went to school in AZ. All I did was waited 6mths to show proof of residency. The only problem I find here is that they don not have adequate nursing programs. They need to create a 9mths program for LPN's who want to be RN's.

31B
31B

I don't understand why out of state students don't just wait to get residency in the state then attend college, it isn't that hard to do. be employed in the state for a year, regester to vote in Az, get an Az drivers license, regester you car in Az... of course you'll have to be dependant meaning you can't live with mommy and daddy any more, cry me a river, i don't give a crap time to be an adult.

Then magically your tuition will be lower... of course you can't attend school during that time but tough, you pay a lot less in tuition.

As far as "undocumented students" lets call them what they are, illegal aliens... who happen to be large contributors to the underground economy that takes 700 million dollars in tax revenue from the state, and 1.4 trillion dollars from the country anually.

a suggestion
a suggestion

instead of worrying about undocumented people and tuition I would suggest they open classes strictly for LPN to RN instead of the LPN having to wait for someone to drop out the program to get in block 3. They need to establish the 9month program

Not Me
Not Me

Anything they can do to drive away illegal immigrants is OK with me! Go Arizona!

Edia1
Edia1

This not only effects student that are undocumented but mainly out of state students, I tried to transfer from NY and now find myself having to relocate back to NY because I cannot afford to go to school in AZ.

Not Me
Not Me

This is the price we have to pay to do what is right!

aaron johnson
aaron johnson

obviously, a coward and inane, comment. brave because of anonymousness. full of hate but doesn't have the balls to show his face. oh well, if you can't contribute for a better solution then seriously dude, shut up. enough of the hate. if you're having problems go complain on FBI not bash on some kids who just simply wants to study.

a suggestion
a suggestion

well AZ is backward in a lot of things and education is the leading concern. They are #50 in the US for low education therefore they should do what they can to accommodate out of state students who might prove beneficial to the educational system here. I find that students even from back east are teaching the professors here things they have never heard of.

concerned :/
concerned :/

Thanks for bringing needed spotlight to this decision by the Maricopa Community Colleges Board which was voted in the dark and away from public input and administrative boundaries.The disproportionate tuition hike of more than 200% was done without administrative input with free from budget or procedural concerns. It was done by pure hate derived by Ms Pearson's sick ideology. She is reportedly a Minutewoman.One of the administrators who stood up to comment make the point the personnel where in absolute compliance of the "law" (prop 300) and other stated that there was no administrative reason to justify the hike. I wonder if the Board violated internal processes, otherwise It means that any board member can push an issue base only in his/her personal agenda free from regulation and oversight.

Not Me
Not Me

Undocumented students should not be able to attend college! What's the point, They can't use their degree after graduating because they aren't legally able to work in the country....It's a worthless piece of paper to them!

jsullivan
jsullivan

who are you to say which right is to be given to which person? if you don't like that undocumented students are being in your school then change schools. duuuh it's not a worthless piece of paper to them that's why this is a big issue at hand. people like you, whose opinion is just fill with no help and being profoundly uneducated and inexperienced needs to shut the fuck up. at least these undocumented students PAY the government/school to study, as if they're just stealing stuffs.

marimar
marimar

that is true... thats why i dont go to school

also concerned
also concerned

this is part of a larger issue. Obviously, these kids are also pushing for the Dream Act, stopping this tuition hike is only a small step in them reaching their goals.

Not Me
Not Me

The Dream Act is just another form of Amnesty! It couldn't pass with a Democratic majority and it doesn't have a chance in h##l of passing now, It's not what the majority of the people of this country want or needs!

Bill
Bill

Thanks for covering this issue. It's really important.

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