Students from across the city took to the streets this afternoon near the campus of the School of the Art Institute to stand up to ever-increasing college tuition costs. Featuring what appeared to be a cross-section of students from across the city, the protest swelled outside of SAIC near Michigan Ave as Police and protestors clashed, with some of those in attendance being taken into custody.
According to ABC7 News, the protestors "were calling on Art Institute trustee Ken Griffin to support free college education." The idea is one that was prevalent over the last year in Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders' race to the White House that ended with Hillary Clinton's nomination to the Democratic candidate. Michigan Avenue was closed briefly as students in blue cap and gowns with their hands tied behind their backs sat in a crosswalk outside of SAIC. According to sources, of the eight arrested, so far no charges have been filed.
The reaction to the largely white protests by the students seems to come in stark contrast to the way African-American protestors have been treated in recent years. Back in March TheseDays featured the story of Malcolm London who was attacked by CPD officers and arrested without reasoning after leading protests in the wake of the Laquan McDonald video release. The protests also come in the wake of headlines throughout the summer highlighting the funding shortage at Chicago State University that has seen it's enrollment plummet and threatened closing the south side campus for good. While free tuition is a longshot from the hundreds of thousands of dollars shelled out by young people across the country for a for year degree, the push for it to be a part of a national conversation is an important one that deserves attention.
We'll keep you updated on the push for lower college costs as the story develops.