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Protestor sits atop Peter Cooper Memorial.

On a day students protested college loan debt reaching $1 trillion, the most memorable moment came at a demonstration in front of a tuition-free university.

Hundreds of protestors gathered at Union Square on Wednesday, April 25, for a “debt jubilee,” burning student loan documents and announcing their debt should be forgiven.

“I have $50,000 in student loan debt, no job and no way to repay,” said Steven Francisco, of Corona. “I was sold an untrue dream.”

After an hour demonstration the rally began a march to Wall Street, but was interrupted at Cooper Triangle where a protestor stood atop the Peter Cooper Memorial, about 50 feet in the air.

He was protesting the Cooper Union announcement that it would begin charging tuition for some graduate programs after more than 100 years of a tuition-free policy.

More than two dozen police officers were on hand for about two hours as the protestor held a sign reading, “No tuition, it’s our mission.”

He was finally taken down in a cherry picker, arrested and taken away in a police van.

“We’ve had a tradition of no tuition for more than a century and in light of today’s events, now more than ever a free college education is vital,” one Cooper Union student said.


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