The Maricopa Community College Governing Board is meeting tomorrow at the District Support Services Center in Tempe and it's expecting company -- protesters demonstrating against the district's recent decision to raise tuition on "out-of-state" students.
As originally reported by New Times, the MCC has raised tuition for out-of-state students from roughly $300 per course to about $1,000, effective this summer. MCC Board Chairman Randolph Lumm expressed concern at a recent board meeting that the legislation was "targeting" the children of illegal immigrants, which was disputed by board member Debra Pearson, who said the measure had nothing to do with immigration.
Of course, she didn't mention the little fact that she's a member of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps.
Now a group of activists plan to descend on the board meeting at 2411 West 14th Street tomorrow at 6:30 p.m., with five speakers scheduled to address the board.
The recent tuition increase at Maricopa Community Colleges is especially touchy for undocumented students, as it makes attending college close to impossible for them. Since Arizona voters approved Prop 300 in 2006, which charges undocumented students "out of state" tuition, many students have turned to community colleges as a way to pursue their education.
What makes the board's tuition increase especially disturbing is the idea that these kids are "out of staters," despite many of them having lived in Arizona for their entire lives.
Maxima Guerrero, whose situation we highlighted in our last report on the hike, plans to speak at tomorrow's hearing, along with local real estate agent Dulce Matuz, Grand Canyon University student Viridiana Hernandez, and DREAM Act organizers Erika Andiola and Daniel Rodriguez.
Rodriguez explained the protest's goals to New Times this afternoon.
"We want to get the message that all students are against the tuition increase, that this tuition hike targets undocumented students, and that we're going to be watching them," he says.
Immigration activists are concerned that Maricopa Community Colleges board member Pearson, whom we exposed as a Minutewoman, is going to push for other community college districts to raise tuition for "out of state" students.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.