As part of a planned, nationwide walkout and rally, many grad students at the University of Delaware did not attend classes Wednesday. Instead, they took to the streets to protest provisions in the proposed tax legislation passed by House Republicans earlier this month.
Students say more than 150 people gathered in front of Memorial Hall on the University of Delaware’s campus to take up the cause. UD President Dr. Dennis Assanis was among the speakers.
UD Graduate Student Government President David Maisson organized the local rally.
“Simply put, it’s unaffordable. It’s unaffordable taxes. So, people wouldn’t be able to buy food; they wouldn’t be able to continue to pay rent. People would have to leave grad school if nothing is done about it,” said Maisson.
Many grad-students pay for higher education with tuition waivers. These waivers cover tuition for students who teach or conduct research at the University, and include a modest stipend for living expenses.
The House tax bill proposes adding tuition waivers to a student’s taxable income—potentially upping the amount a student owes in federal taxes by thousands of dollars a year.
Maisson says the measure seems mean-spirited, as it does little to cover the tax revenue lost by cutting individual and corporate taxes. “It feels to graduate students and to academic circles as though it’s an attack on intellectualism for the sake of attacking intellectualism,” he said.
The measure waiting for a vote in the U.S. Senate does not add tuition waivers to taxable income. If that bill is passed, the two branches will negotiate a compromise draft to try to pass new tax legislation through Congress.