By Adam Hartmann
Arizona Daily Wildcat
About 40 first-year law students staged a protest yesterday at the College of Law, saying a second-straight tuition increase was applied to them without their knowledge, while other law students only had to absorb one or no increase at all.
The students took a petition with 118 signatures and a letter outlining their grievances to the office of Thomas Sullivan, University of Arizona law school dean, chanting, "No way, we won't pay."
Sullivan was not in to receive the students' petition. So, the students left the materials and then dispersed.
The Arizona Board of Regents voted unanimously in April of 1993 to raise tuition by $1,000 at UA and Arizona State University law schools. It also decided to defer consideration of a second $1,000 increase until this April.
The board then voted 7-1 at this month's meeting to approve the second straight $1,000 increase for the law schools.
The decision, combined with a $50 resident and $150 non-resident fee increase approved for all students, means resident law students will now have to pay $3,894 per year and non-resident law students will pay $9,500.
Several first-year law students said they did not know tuition would be raised again this year, meaning they would be paying for two straight years of increases.
Thomas Ivory, a first-year law student and vice president of the UA law school's student bar association, said the students in his class are paying both last year's and this year's increase. The class before him is only paying last year's increase and the class before that is not paying either increase at all, he said.
"We're saying that we should at least be grandfathered to (last year's figure)," Ivory said. "The fact is, it's all about notice."
Kirsten Ridgway, another first-year law student, said many students came to the UA law school this year because of its low tuition.
"We came here for a cheap legal education. You can't change it on us," Ridgway said. "We're stuck here. We can't decide like an undergraduate to transfer."
She said the students are going to request a hearing before the regents as soon as possible to discuss the issue.
Sullivan said he thought students knew the board was considering the second $1,000 increase at last year's meeting because articles about that meeting ran in local newspapers.
"There was discussion out there in our community," Sullivan said. "I was assuming it was well-known."
He also said no one could have anticipated the second $1,000 increase because the board did not necessarily have to approve it at this month's meeting.
"Certainly, the Board of Re- gents has the constitutional authorization to set tuition," Sullivan said. "One doesn't know what one's tuition is going to be until the board sets it."
Anne Kyl, a first-year student, said the back-to-back $1,000 increases have made law school tuition difficult to afford for a first-time student.
"The problem is, they're throwing it all on our backs in one lump sum," Kyl said. "When you don't have much income coming in, $2,000 is a lot of money."
Alan Nelson, another first-year student, said he could afford the increases, but said he was worried that not everyone could.
"I'm mad for my colleagues that can't afford it," Nelson said. "These are the people I go to school with and we're all in this together."
The letter and petition the students left with Sullivan will also be forwarded to several other organizations including the American Bar Association, the Pima County Bar Association and the Arizona Bar Association. Read Next Article