Degree in Activism
Undocumented students get a break
by Jennifer Xu
Thanks to Kevin Mersol-Barg, undocumented Michigan residents will be eligible for in-state tuition starting in January. Inspired by a national immigration activist, Mersol-Barg organized the Coalition for Tuition Equality as a U-M junior. The group protested at several regents meetings, and he and others were arrested for blocking traffic in front of the Union, before the regents finally voted in July to adopt the policy, splitting 6-2 along party lines.
Mersol-Barg, who graduated in May, now works as a research assistant. He's applying to grad programs in public policy but admits, "I struggle so much to identify where I want to be." Only twenty-two, he's already feeling nostalgia for his days as an undergrad activist: "I don't know how I'm going to reconcile that I'm no longer going to have the type of power a student wields," he admits. "The administration must listen to you. You are the tuition-paying student who's attending classes."
[Originally published in December, 2013.]