Growing chorus of students demand colleges 'pay us back' amid coronavirus closures
The students claim that the university has lacked communication about coronavirus.
Students at Stony Brook University in New York are demanding their university send them home from campus.
Students at one New York university have gathered to demand that their school close campus and give them their money back.
After an increasing number of universities nationwide have closed their doors and extended their spring breaks amid coronavirus concerns, students at Stony Brook University have begun to protest and demand refunds from the school’s administration.
While Stony Brook has moved to online courses, students have not yet been dismissed from campuses.
On Wednesday, students took to a Reddit forum to discuss protesting. Students suggested gathering by the circle to protest any administration, faculty or personnel that would appear.
Students are chanting “Send Us Home, Pay Us Back” pic.twitter.com/jay9ZzxdnE
— Alex Bakirdan (@AlexBakirdan) March 11, 2020
When trying to get more students to gather, a Reddit user wrote “There is already a photographer and a few people in front of Administration. Meet near the circle by the side that’s facing the library.” Students also asked “Where should I scream?” and “We started the movement.”
Video posted to social media shows students chanting “Send us home. Pay us back.”
Protest against Stony Brook University administration’s lack of communication regarding the coronavirus. Hospital on campus has 3 cases. pic.twitter.com/TE9nw7WSvO
— Ross O’Keefe (@RossOKeefe2) March 11, 2020
According to student paper The Statesman, Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students Richard Gatteau responded to protesters, saying, “we’re all concerned about the safety and health of all of you on our campus, I’m here to support all of you, and we’re trying to make the most informed decision for the campus.” When attempting to give a response, Gatteau was reportedly interrupted multiple times by protesters shouting things like “no you aren’t!” and “we need answers!”
“I came out today because there is definitely an irresponsible lack of communication between Stony Brook’s administration and students, I do know that I came out because I feel as though personal safety is not at the forefront,” one student told The Statesman.
“When I walked out to the crowd of students, they weren’t shouting anything, so not sure if/what they were saying before I arrived,” Gatteau told Campus Reform. “Our residence halls remain open so all students are welcome to stay.” Gatteau also sent a link to information regarding the coronavirus, available for Stony Brook students; including FAQs, resources, and updates.”
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Jess_Custodio