Dressed in military fatigues, 20 members of the University of Maryland's Student Government and Resident Hall Associations staged a protest on the College Park campus, complaining about a proposed 11 to 13 percent increase in dormitory and dining hall fees.
The students, who said they plan to erect tents today outside the administration building, presented what they termed a "declaration of war" to officials in the administration building, complaining that they cannot afford the planned $203 increase in dorm costs.
The increase, which will be considered by the university's Board of Regents on May 7, will raise dorm fees to $1,687 yearly. Dining hall rates, if approved, would rise by 11 percent, to $1,205. Dorm fees at Maryland were the third highest in the country among state-supported schools last year, according to a survey by the National Association of State and Land-grant Colleges.
"We will not stop until administrators give us commitments (to reduce the increases)," said Steve Raley, president of the Student Government Association, who said some students plan to sleep in the tents to protest the planned fees.
A university spokeswoman said the administration is sympathetic to student concerns, but said the 36 campus dormitories must remain self-supporting.