Hunger strike protests tuition fee hike for undocumented immigrant students.

Twenty-three students and teachers at the City University of New York (CUNY) initiated a hunger strike Tuesday to protest the recently implemented tuition fee hike for undocumented immigrant students. Dr. Bill Crain, a professor in the Psychology Department, coordinated the three-day-long hunger strike, as well as participated himself. The strikers will protest in front of the main offices of CUNY’s Board of Trustees.

They were backed by a lawsuit in the New York State Supreme Court charging the tuition increase is illegal and discriminatory. The case will be heard on January 25, 2002.

Hunger striker Jerry Dominguez, a member of the Mexican-American Students Friendship, said undocumented immigrants must now pay $13,600 for four semesters of coursework, an increase of $7,200.

CUNY spokesman Michael Arena said about 2,200 do not have immigration documents. He further said about two lakhs (200,000) students are studying at the 17 campuses of the university. Protesters charge that CUNY enacted tuition hike for undocumented immigrants due to the terrorist attack of September 11.

The students who are on hunger strike said that many of them would not be able to continue their studies because of the increase in the tuition fee. It may be mentioned that if CUNY enacts the tuition increase, other public universities may follow suit. So activists have been mobilized, as well as filing the lawsuit. Most organizations engaged in the movement immigrants rights expressed solidarity with the hunger strike.

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