Fisk University students are protesting a policy that will drop students from the rolls after Sept. 8 if they have an outstanding balance of $1,500 or more and don’t get on a payment plan, WPLN, Nashville’s NPR station, reported. Students at the historically Black university in Tennessee held a sit-in at a campus building Thursday. Some are also boycotting the campus cafeteria and classes.
An email sent to students by university officials says students who fail to comply by the deadline have to move out of their dorms two days later. Students told WPLN the payment plan option, which requires a 15 percent down payment and $60 fee, requires them to find a substantial amount of money on too tight a timeline.
The deadline to pay back outstanding balances or be dropped from courses was originally set for Aug. 23, but the date was pushed back and affected students were allowed back in class—for now—after student outcry at a town hall last week.
Students also started a petition calling on campus administrators to delay the “purge” until Nov. 1, which has garnered more than 300 signatures.
Frank L. Sims, the university’s interim president, said in a statement that federal COVID-19 relief funds allowed the university to clear outstanding balances up until January 2023. The recent payment policy was announced in December 2022.
“The University repeatedly communicated the unprecedented and one-time nature of this federal support to prepare students to meet their subsequent financial obligations,” he said. “Allowing students to defer their financial obligations not only undermines the University’s ability to meet its fiscal responsibilities but also the student’s ability to successfully matriculate from the University.”