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April 18, 2013

OSA elevates young Ohioans’ voices at summit

By Alberto Paneccasio

On April 11, 2013, the Ohio Student Association (OSA) held Student Power Summit, a meeting in regards to the issues that students at Cleveland State University are experiencing- whether they are affecting us or how they impact the affordability to educational success.

All of these are big concerns for students. This group is trying to elevate the voices of young Ohioans and advocate for racial, economic, environmental and social justice. This organization is working on several ways to fight for students to get educational justice by fighting the dual problems of skyrocketing tuition, student loan debt and the school-to-prison pipeline.

OSA is for empowering students statewide and is fighting for educational justice issues such as access to make sure education is affordable and accessible to folks from different backgrounds from different socioeconomic means. OSA hopes to give students a say in decisions regarding tuition and the institutions everyone is a part of.

“We hope to achieve at some level that students will have a say in decisions that affect them,” said Joel Solow, regional organizer for Northeast Ohio.

The meeting was held in the Main Classroom building where several people made an appearance to listen to what this group had to say because many students feel that they do not really have much of a say in anything that is going on Cleveland State’s campus.

“I came down because this is the first event that I heard about on this campus, in four years, and now a senior, this is the first time I heard about a legitimate opportunity to voice my concerns on how the school is actually run,” said Taliesin Haugh, anthropology major.

This meeting started off with an open discussion on how the cost of college and the administration lacks of communication was affecting the lives of students. Students from across the board, from all majors here at Cleveland State, voiced their views on what was going on and what they thought was wrong about the changes at Cleveland State.

When the panel on the podium asked how rising tuition was affecting students, the room got heated with different concerns expressed from students.

The issues surrounding the campus were discussed, including the four to three credit conversion and its impact on the students. This is an ongoing issue that went into effect this past week. The students were concerned that these conversions would lead to the rise in tuition that could impact the school.

The OSA gave a presentation on different aspects of the state budget and policy that would impact universities.

One of the groups present at the meeting was DreamActivists. They were represented by Timothy Farrell. The group represents the undocumented students and is working on in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants.

“I want to be involved in these conversations to see what is going on because if we don’t, these undocumented immigrants could pay three times the amount of regular in state citizens,” Farrell said.

These students said that Cleveland State is taking these decisions on behalf of the people they represent. The four to three credit hour conversions is one of those instances where the Student Government Association that represents the students went out and proposed what they did, even though the students are against the recent changes.

When students were asked if these meetings with the OSA should continue, many of them said yes they should. One student was very defensive on the matter.
“Well these meetings have to continue because the people in charge are not making valid decisions for those they claim they represent, so we have to take action,” Taliesin said.