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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Friday, May 24, 2024

Students march to demand higher minimum wage, lower college costs

Students and community members marched from Library Mall to Bascom Hall Wednesday, protesting the lack of a living wage for student workers and demanding the elimination of student debt, among other issues.

The protest was part of a nationwide day of campus demonstrations known as the Million Student March, the first of which took place last November. The event was sponsored by many local organizations, including the Teaching Assistants Association, Student Labor Action Coalition and Madison Socialist Alternative.

“Demonstrations like these are absolutely imperative,” said SLAC member Danny Levandoski. “It's a way to physically see students come together to stand against the issues at our university.”

The march to Bascom was part of a concerted effort by the protesters to take their demands straight to administration. Students directed their advocacy of a campus-wide $15 minimum wage for student workers campus-wide toward Chancellor Rebecca Blank, chanting “Hey Becky, step off it, put people over profit.” Blank previously announced in February the university will raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $9 an hour, but the protesters said this was not enough.

Once the march reached Bascom, speakers from MSA, SLAC and TAA spoke about their struggles on campus. A first-generation student whom SLAC is advocating for also told her story of what she said was unfair firing from a university job.

The event also served as an opportunity to denounce the controversial rhetoric of presidential candidate Donald Trump. Teddy Shibabaw, an organizer of the event and member of MSA, said Trump spouted “racist rhetoric like a centuries-old dysfunctional toilet.”

As the event ended, SLAC members dropped off a letter of their demands at Chancellor Blank’s office, and protesters left chanting “We’ll be back! We’ll be back!”

While there aren’t any future marches currently planned at UW-Madison, Levandoski echoed the sentiment behind these chants.

“It's really in the hands of the students,” Levandoski said. “If students have a desire to rise up and make their voices heard, it's going to happen.”

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