ESTERO, Fla. - The "Dunk City" rally cries have died down since FGCU's historic run in the NCAA Tournament. But, Wednesday afternoon, there was a different chant echoing throughout campus, one students say is a request and warning to the administration.
The students call their movement #OccupyFGCU. They support the growth that's sure to come from FGCU's recent notoriety, but not at the cost of their education or experience. It started as a class assignment and turned into a 100-strong movement.
Students chanted, "Who are we? FGCU! What do we want? Sustainable growth!"
"Why is my tuition going up and my teachers not being paid?" one student yelled. "Why is it getting hard to get into the courses I need so I can graduate on time?"
"We want quality not quantity," Senior Kiersten Cordes said.
Cordes should be graduating this spring. But, won't be tossing her cap until the end of next semester. "The classes filled like that, they don't have enough faculty for different classes we need to graduate and our classes are growing so big but the faculty is decreasing," Cordes said.
With FGCU becoming a household name during March Madness, some worry the problem is about to get a lot bigger. "You've got to hold onto the values of this University which are smaller class sizes and truly educating children, not becoming another number," Senior John Maloney said.
#OccupyFGCU's message carried loud and clear from the library lawn to the administration building. Although most staff had already left campus for the night, students left a message for when they return, writing #OccupyFGCU with chalk on sidewalks and building walls. "That's love from the students, treat our teachers right," one student said as he drew a large heart.
A group of students created #OccupyFGCU as part of their Rhetoric and Social Movements course and actually, came up with the idea before Men's Basketball team was in the spotlight. "I am actually pretty neutral," Kim Huff, professor of the class said. "I wanted them to pick it and run it and they did all of this. I am pretty neutral on the actual topic itself but I support everything they did and said."
We contacted the school about the students' growth concerns, but have not received any comment.