Student Walkout To Protest Athletic Priorities at App State Planned Thursday Afternoon

Published Thursday, October 22, 2015 at 10:00 am

By Jesse Wood

A walkout and teach-in protest is planned near Kidd Brewer Stadium at Duck Pond Field on the App State campus on Thursday afternoon at 2 p.m. to protest the priority of athletics, particularly football, on the college campus.

The protest will take place one-hour before tailgating begins and several hours before the Mountaineers face the Georgia Southern Eagles at 7:30 p.m. The game is airing on ESPN.

“We must act now to keep Appalachian State University an institution that serves its students and employees, and not allow it to become a corporate entity that treats its students as customers and employees as dispensable and unvalued labor,” said Rachel Clay, an ASU student and co-organizer of the protest along with fellow-student Mary Lyons. “The university needs to allocate funds in a way that benefits the campus community. The loss of student, staff, and faculty parking to accommodate the needs of tailgaters speaks to the larger issue of Appalachian State’s deteriorating prioritization of both students’ education and ethical treatment of faculty and staff.”

The announcement of the walkout noted that App State, along with colleges across the state, have endured millions of dollars of cuts from the state and have passed that burden along to students and faculty.

The released noted that this is what “students are really paying for:”

  • Since 2011, tuition has increased by 32.4 percent while the salary of the head football coach has increased 91.98 percent.
  • Between 2011 and 2015 five university departments had an average faculty salary that decreased.
  • Academic spending per full time student decreased 5 percent while spending per athlete increased by 30 percent.
  • Between 1987 and 2011 the number of full-time administrators rose by 318.8 percent while enrollment increased by only 70.6 percent.
  • In 2014 the average salary of employees with “chancellor” or “provost” in their title was $148,659.14
  • Between 2010 and 2014, full-time non-tenure track faculty increased 31.8 percent, while tenured or tenure-track faculty increased 0.5 percent

“The university has responded to budget cuts by charging students more while providing them with less and demanding more of their employees while rewarding them less. Increased cost should be reflected in university health services, counseling & psychological services, tenure track faculty, scholarship opportunities, and other facilities consistent with the university’s mission,” Clay said.

There is a lively conversation, which includes professors and students, happening at a Facebook event page for this walkout.

Those against the protest are voicing their opinion as well. (Because of the football game happening on a school day and the need to reserve spaces for donors of the Yosef Club, which is the fundraising arm of App State Athletics, faculty and students have limited parking options.)

“This is so stupid. Why can’t you just take the bus for a day? I’m not thrilled about this either but I’m not going to skip class that I PAY FOR to ineffevely [sic] protest this,” Avik Chatterjee wrote on the event page. “You’re shooting yourself in the academic foot by skipping class. This isn’t going to work and you’ll miss stuff that could potentially help you with a test or a quiz. If you want App to care more about academics, DO WELL IN SCHOOL. SHOW THEM THAT YOUR GPA MATTERS. GO TO CLASS. I went to college to be around reasonable, intelligent people… Don’t prove me wrong.”

To chime in, click to the Facebook event page here and also see the App State Student Power website, which includes the info-graphics below.







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