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Tulane student government approves ‘equity fee’ to benefit black, marginalized students

But Tulane University administrators have not signed off on non-binding resolution

The student government at Tulane University recently approved an “equity fee” that aims to foist a $240 per-student increase on existing student fees to fund diversity programs on campus after complaints that “marginalized” students need more support at the private institution.

Administrators at the New Orleans-based university are now considering the non-binding resolution.

“Supporting diverse students is a very important priority for Tulane and we intend to carefully consider this proposal by our undergraduate student government leaders,” campus spokesman Mike Strecker told The College Fix.

“Right now we are still studying the resolution,” he added. “The resolution will have to be reviewed and deliberated on by the University Senate, Tulane’s senior internal governance body, which consists of elected faculty representatives, senior administrators and student and staff representatives. The resolution will also have to be reviewed by the Board of Tulane, the university’s external governing body.”

The equity fee was pushed by the student organization Les Griots Violets, which stated on a petition calling for the fee that “when Black people are free, everyone is free.” As of Nov. 5, about 775 people have signed the Change.org petition.

The petition stated the “purpose of the equity fee is to address the lack of proper funding to support black students and other students from marginalized communities.”

“The liberation of our most marginalized students will only strengthen our university and create a better environment for all who aspire to earn a degree from Tulane University. Tulane has been negligent, which makes it the responsibility of the students to advocate for one another,” it said.

According to the campus newspaper the Tulane Hullabaloo, the student government passed the resolution last week with a vote of 24 to 6 with one abstention. But it was not without controversy.

“After a motion to table the voting of the legislation to the Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity Committee, the Student Life Committee and the Academic Affairs Committee, members of the crowd protested the delaying of the bill. Following the uproar, the legislation was voted on and passed,” the Hullabaloo reported.

The cost of tuition and fees at Tulane for the 2020-21 school year is about $59,000, according to the university’s website.

Carson Neeves, a member of the College Republicans and student at Tulane University, told The College Fix that if “the school does go through enacting this bill maybe they should focus on making all students feel more welcome at Tulane as well as create a new organization to help build a more welcoming environment on campus.”

“The bill also hurts marginalized students more by raising the cost of attending Tulane, which is already excessive for the lackluster resources that Tulane provides. Tulane has many problems, the campus culture, students’ mental health, and sexual violence, but accusing the school of ‘denying Black people the right to exist’ is only a cry for attention and is not an argument that should be taken with any credibility,” Neeves said.

The fee is not welcomed by everyone. Commenting on the Hullabaloo article, one parent said: “I already spend A LOT of money sending my child to Tulane. Charging me an additional fee that will benefit only non-white students is treading on dangerous ground. My child and I will be reevaluating the decision to attend Tulane.”

But others in the comments showed their support, with one individual stating that “supporting minority students and closing the gap not just benefits students of color but also benefits white students’ college experience.”

MORE: Georgetown launches $400K slavery reparations fund, won’t force students to pay for it

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About the Author
Emma Schambach -- University of North Carolina at Charlotte