Students protesting FAU’s summer class cuts storm into administration building, chanting with megaphone

Monique Paramore, a grad student whose summer classes were cut, organized the protest and created the online petition against the cuts. Photo by Christine Capozziello

About 30 of them charge up the stairs in the Administration Building, holding up their signs, chanting. One of them has a megaphone and shouts their slogans: “What does FAU stand for?” Students answer, “Find another university!”

But the megaphone was a deal-breaker, as was the moment the students entered the Office of the Provost — who wasn’t even there. Campus police told the group to leave the building a few minutes later. So the students left and started marching across campus, down the Breezeway and into the Student Union. Then they returned to the Administration Building, where they had started their protest around 2:30 p.m., 30 minutes late.

This isn’t the first protest FAU’s seen for its newly formed late-March guidelines which call for an 11-student minimum for graduate classes and a 24-student minimum for undergraduate classes. If classes don’t meet this minimum — and if they didn’t meet them last summer — the classes will be cancelled this summer. According to the Bursar’s Office, which partially manages FAU’s financial affairs, summer 2011 offered 2,972 sections to students. This summer offers 2,117 sections. Sections are actual classes, but there might be several sections for one class.

Monique Paramore organized the protest, runs its Facebook page, and created the group’s online petition. As of press time, the petition had 731 signatures, its current goal being 750. Paramore was the first person to sign the petition on March 27. Paramore got her undergrad degree in May 2011, and had three graduate classes lined up for the upcoming summer semester — all of which were cut.

FAU Police tell protesters to leave the Administration Building after they made their way into the offices of the Provost and of Senior Vice President for Financial Affairs. Photo by Christine Capozziello.

Senior Matt Cabell attends FAU with the help of his GI Bill, which says he has to be a full-time student every semester to qualify for living expenses. Cabell was protesting since he might have to find a new place to live now that his summer’s studio art classes have been cancelled — this won’t be easy since he’s already under a lease. While the cuts could decide where Cabell lives this summer, other students are watching their expected graduation dates get pushed back.

Paloma Salas is one of them.  The junior anthropology major has been waiting over a year to take six of her required credits. Now, those credits won’t be offered in the summer or fall.

“That sucks,” Salas said. “We, as students, want to learn.”

Other students are simply planning on leaving. One of them is freshman Kenneth Martinez.

“I’m not able to take core classes for my major over the summer,” the linguistics major said, who’s also on the GI Bill and at risk of losing his summer living expenses. “I planned on staying here for my master’s too, but I’ll look for another school if this keeps up.”

Watching from the sidelines, spectator students weren’t too happy with the protesters, or their message. Junior studio art major Jacob Allen mused, “These are the same students who will be skipping class all summer.”

When the protesters entered the Student Union on the final leg of their pilgrimage, they met more students who didn’t want to hear their message. Jacques Nicely, a senior criminal justice major, said they were protesting in the wrong place.

“I think it’s annoying,” freshman political science major Derek Discipio said. “There is a better way they could have done this.”

ED. NOTE: In a previous version of this story, it was incorrectly reported that Paloma Salas needed 6 credits to graduate. In fact, Salas needs to take six required credits, which haven’t been available for a year, according to her.