Maine Colleges Partake in Million Student March - NECN
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Maine Colleges Partake in Million Student March

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    The Million Student March is a national event started last year to call for free public college tuition, student loan debt forgiveness and a $15 minimum wage for on-campus workers. (Published Wednesday, April 13, 2016)

    Maine students marched in solidarity with college students across the country Wednesday, taking part in the "Million Student March."

    It's a national event started last year to call for free public college tuition, student loan debt forgiveness and a $15 minimum wage for on-campus workers.

    Southern Maine Community College in South Portland and the University of Maine at Orono both took part.

    "A lot of us feel like we were lied to," said Heather McIntosh, who participated in the SMCC march. "We were told if you work hard throughout college you can get a job. That doesn't exist anymore."

    McIntosh said she is going to be $50,000 in debt after she finishes her education.

    Other students at SMCC echoed her concerns.

    "I'm not asking for handouts," said student Justin Cochran. "I'm asking for something to be affordable."

    Organizer Alex Serrano said the government could find money to pay for college tuition by spending reducing military spending and energy costs.

    "I love what Bernie [Sanders] has to say about taxing the incredibly rich people," said Serrano.

    The Million Student March national organizers said this year, students were also going to be speaking out against Donald Trump.

    "Because he supports things we are against, we are against Donald Trump," said Serrano.

    The SMCC President Ron Cantor said he appreciates the students' involvement in the movement, but adds their goals may be unrealistic.

    "They are certainly difficult goals," said Cantor. "We are doing everything we can to keep costs low, to keep debt low, and delivery a high quality education."

    The national Million Student March organizers estimate 115 college campuses held marches Wednesday.

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