February 25, 2011
While the Board of Visitors met at the University of Virginia's Rotunda on Friday, students at the school engaged in a 'respectful discourse' in an effort to raise University employees' living wage.
"That discrepancy is something that a lot of students and faculty hope to address today," said Josh Fass, of the Living Wage Campaign.
Members of the Living Wage Campaign claim that hundreds of non-contract employees at UVa work for $10.14 an hour. Students are pushing to bring that number up to $11.44.
"We learned as college students to think critically and ask questions, and I think it's important for us to be critical of our own school," said Erin Franey, of the Living Wage Campaign.
In 2006, the Living Wage Campaign led a rally that went awry. 17 people were handcuffed and arrested after a sit-in at Madison Hall. Students at this year's event say they do not plan to have the same outcome.
"We are not repeating like in 2006. But we're acting for more positive discourse, more positive relationship with the administration," said Fass.
The students wore orange and blue bands to show they were united on the issue and asked for an open dialogue to discuss the wages of the workers who keep the University running.
"We are actually on the side of the University. It's not like we're in opposition to the University," said Fass.
The students also promised they would not go away without a fight.
"We will continue to march and we will continue to show our support and our strength in this issue until finally we can have some kind of increase in wages," said Carl David Goette-Luciak, of the Living Wage Campaign.
Friday's demonstration was peaceful. Students worked with University police ahead of time to make sure there were no incidents.
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