A Missouri graduate student was among those arrested Tuesday during tax bill protests at the U.S. Capitol.
Ben Groebe, a graduate student at Washington University in St. Louis, went to Washington to bring a message to the Republican leadership about what it should do with a tax plan recently passed in the U.S. House of Representatives.
“Kill the bill,” protesters shouted outside the office of House speaker, Rep. Paul Ryan. Groebe, 25, said a sign, “Please knock,” hung on the outside of Ryan’s closed office door. The students knocked, but no one answered.
The House tax plan includes a provision that would tax as income the tuition waivers given by schools to graduate students to help pay for their studies.
Groebe, who is studying astrophysics at Missouri’s most elite university, told The Chronicle that tax on tuition waivers would make graduate students’ income look markedly higher on paper that it actually is.
“That means that the taxes are going to be prohibitively expensive,” said Groebe, “and that’s going to make it too difficult for many of us to carry on, and we may have to drop out.”
The plan has been opposed by high education groups across the country saying it could potentially render graduate education unattainable for many students.
Quincy Abarr, another astrophysics graduate students at Washington University, said Groebe was not alone in his concern about the tax plan. He said there were rumblings of indignation among many of the graduate students across the campus.
Capitol police arrested protesters outside Ryan’s office. Eight protesters, including Groebe, were handcuffed and escorted away.