As two students silently held strongly worded signs in a cordoned-off "protest area" at the back of the room, the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents on Thursday raised tuition by 5.5% at all campuses for the 2012-'13 academic year to help offset state budget cuts.
"Tuition has doubled in the past 10 years," one student's protest sign read. "Greed is a bottomless pit," another said.
The 17-1 vote, with Regent John Drew of Milwaukee opposing, followed a lengthy debate about whether further belt-tightening could occur instead of a 5.5% tuition increase for a sixth consecutive year.
"We're used to the word, 'tighten,' " new Regent Regina Millner of Madison said. "You can tighten by eliminating fat. At some point, you're eliminating muscle and then it's destructive to the organism."