The tuition strike, organized by the Columbia-Barnard Young Democratic Socialists of America (YDSA), ended on Monday, April 5 after nearly six months of public preparation and three months of active striking.
The Columbia-Barnard YDSA announced the start of their tuition strike in October, calling for financial reforms with an aim to relieve students’ monetary burden, including a minimum of a 10% reduction in tuition and other fees for the spring semester, a tuition freeze at that adjusted level for all future semesters, and an increase in financial aid by a minimum of 10%.
The strike went into effect on Sunday, January 24, and the YDSA held a rally and press conference to spread their message to a broader audience. According to the organizers, nearly 4,000 students were expected to strike, and students hoped to pressure Columbia’s administration into meeting the YDSA’s demands by withholding their tuition payments.
The University responded to the rally and press conference in January with a brief statement, claiming that the student strikers’ “voices are heard by Columbia’s leadership, and their views on strengthening the University are welcomed,” but no tangible compromises were afforded to the striking students.
After reaching out to tuition strike organizers, a YDSA representative explained that “as the semester wraps up, YDSA has shifted our focus to preparing for our campaign next semester. Columbia’s intransigence and obvious neglect for student, staff, faculty, and community concerns demonstrates only that we need to organize more people. We are not going away, but are actively reflecting and seeking feedback on the tuition strike this semester so that we can come back even stronger in the fall.”
Library Building via Bwog Archives