Letter to the editor:
In response to an opinion piece in the March 2 edition of The Lantern, many of the issues students currently face stem from university financial mismanagement, secretive accounting and lack of representation, as well as those student have brought upon themselves.
Recently many students have mentioned the burden of purchasing customized textbooks, paying tuition hikes and managing finances. On the other hand, the student body continues to demand the university provide services such as the RPAC and Undergraduate Student Government events, as well as give out other “free” trinkets.
Students are being exploited by the university, as the higher administration makes a pretty penny at the expense of student debt. The university is gouging the price of its textbooks, as well as tuition, and the second-year on-campus living requirement will soon add another significant load on the back of incoming students.
However, the student body demands some of these services. Whereas off-campus private gyms would cost only the participants, all students are forced to fund the glass box known as the RPAC. Rather than dole out trinkets such as pens and leaflets, the university could save students money or at least divert it to tuition. When university officials scream from the peaks of their mountainous salaries about income inequality, perhaps they should choose instead to divert portions of their salaries back to the students. Whereas our forefathers could work summers to pay off their college education, our generation will toil for it years into the future. Students don’t demand that the university expand into the University District and reshape the district in the university’s image, but they do demand Starbucks, the RPAC, and other services nonessential to a public university’s mission of higher education.
Do students ever get to see where their money goes? Unlike the 7-Eleven or United Dairy Farmers, the university fails to provide a receipt that truly explains how, with a large student body paying at least $10,000 each in tuition annually, the university still has to beg alumni for alms. Where does the money go, President Michael Drake? Students are paying for a service, and should at least see how their money goes through the university.
Finally, as the Undergraduate Student Government elections come into full swing, it is amazing that students rarely understand the money in play. Unlike many student organizations, USG holds a high degree of power and influence with the university officials who spend the collective money of all students toward whatever they wish. USG is full of honest and eager politicians. However, like the vegetarian wolf, the honest politician is a myth. The USG gets a lion’s share of student money to carry out events that not all students support or wish to attend. Rather than distribute its funding to student organizations that cater specifically to individuals, the USG creates its own objectives.
Both the Michelle and Noel and Abby and Abby campaigns promise to make the USG accountable and accessible, as well as change the way the university directly spends money. However, both candidacies fail to recognize USG’s role in wasteful spending.
These financial burdens result from student demand and the university’s eager demand to take more and more funding and direct student life. These demands cause students further harm financially, and leave behind the university’s original goal: to educate.
There are ways to change this pattern. University officials can take a voluntary pay cut and keep the money in student pockets. Students can demand the university scrap the Second-year Transformational Experience Program. Students can demand transparency in university finances, as well as seek out USG candidates who will return the organization from another arm of the bureaucracy to its original role as a student voice.
First-year in evolution and ecology