CORVALLIS — The Oregon State University Board of Trustees postponed a vote on a possible tuition increase after its meeting was disrupted by protesters.
The board planned to vote Friday on a proposal to increase tuition by 4 percent for resident undergraduates and 2 percent for nonresident undergraduates, the Corvallis Gazette-Times reported.
Instead, the board adjourned after the protesters marched into the meeting room, locked arms and chanted demands. An Oregon State Police trooper monitored the demonstrators but made no arrests.
The board reconvened almost 90 minutes later with the protesters still in the room.
Board Chairwoman Pat Reser gave the protesters 15 minutes to comment. But the group continued chanting, at which point Reser declared the meeting adjourned and announced it would be rescheduled at a later date.
"They are not listening, they are leaving," the protesters chanted. "Shame, shame, shame on you."
Among several demands, the protesters want to stop the tuition increase and halt pay raises for administrators. They said employees earning more than $150,000 a year should take a voluntary pay cut.
"We are escalating our actions today because business as usual is unacceptable," the group chanted. "In past attempts to communicate through official channels, our concerns have repeatedly gone unaddressed and unnoted."
The board's decision to adjourn was understandable, said Candalynn Johnson, executive director of government relations with the Associated Students of Oregon State University, OSU's student government.
"They obviously couldn't have talked over the students," Johnson said. "I hope they see what happened as an act of desperation and feeling silenced."
Joshua Kaufman, speaker of the house for the university's student government, said the protesters had good intentions, but he was disappointed with their actions. He noted that a committee originally considered a tuition hike of around 12 percent and that was reduced after listening to students.
"I think this was moving in the right direction and I think this disruption came at the wrong time," Kaufman said. "After all of these progressive steps have happened, to come in (and) disrupt the meeting and make it so they can't vote just seems silly and almost counterproductive to me."