Juilliard students organize first-ever protest against tuition hikes
Almost everyone Jay Julio knows from his graduating class at Juilliard School is no longer in the performing arts. Many of their friends (Julio identifies as non-binary) who have studied musical performance are now working in parallel to pay off their student loans and make ends meet.
“I think it’s a little surprising and sad that we have accepted that schools are going to have most of the students paying their bills with jobs in another industry – not the industry they trained their skills for. for decades, “Julio says.
They graduated from Juilliard in 2020 with a master’s degree in viola performance. They supported the student organizers who demand a freeze on tuition fees at the conservatory.
In early June, Juilliard organizers protested in city streets outside school buildings after learning that the 116-year-old performing arts conservatory will increase tuition fees for the year. school 2021-2022 from $ 49,260 to $ 51,230. Students ask Juilliard to freeze tuition fees. Tuition fees have increased by $ 2,000 each year for the past four years. But this spring’s protests were the first time students have spoken publicly against the hikes.
Julio, who went on to study and perform under the Los Angeles Orchestra Fellowship, says rising tuition fees reduce access to performing arts education, which could hurt students. arts over time.
“The study of fine arts [is] is going to be more and more rarefied and reserved for those who are rich. What kind of art do we produce if it can only be produced by the richest 1-10% of the population? ” they say.
Sarah Ma, a first-year violinist, says the tuition freeze would increase access to Juilliard for working-class musicians. She adds that she and her family have tried to invest as much money as possible in her career, but she believes school is taking that money away from her.
On June 7, the students occupied the Irene Diamond Building in Juilliard, and on June 9, they re-entered the building and chanted outside President Damian Woetzel’s office. Several students were suspended following the protest. Julliard said the suspensions were safety related.
Students are allowed to schedule meetings with the president of Juilliard and other senior administrators to voice their concerns, says Rosalie Contreras, vice president of public affairs at The Juilliard School.
Ma, a member of the student social media organization group “The Socialist Penguins,” explains that when the music students discussed the tuition fee freeze with the president and provost on June 3, they felt they didn’t. not to be listened to, which led them to protest.
Juilliard provides students with one-on-one studio instruction with renowned faculty, performance opportunities at Lincoln Center, and entrepreneurial offerings, Contreras said. The cost of providing a Juilliard education is over $ 90,000 per year, which is covered by donations and contributions from the school’s endowment fund.
Rising tuition fees is a problem across higher education, Contreras says. While the school administration recognizes the impact it has on students, Juilliard aims to support its students while managing the finances of the school, she says.
Juilliard has invested in building ventilation systems, Covid-19 testing and video technology to enable students to learn in person for the 2020-21 academic year, she says, and 83% of students have studied on the campus this spring semester.