Let me start by saying I am not a political person. I am not even pretending to fully understand how the California State Universities receive funding. What I do know is that I am student and I pay tuition. I plan on continuing in the California university system for at least seven more years. More importantly, I am also an educated woman who is able to separate making an actual difference from acting like a five year old child. My view point is to address the actions of student on the California State University, Northridge campus and those students alone.
Here is where I stand and why:
Yesterday I was sitting in class listening to a lecture for an exam in two week. All of the sudden a group of girls with whistles and a loud speaker, open our class room door and tell us to walk out. I am angered mostly because these budget cuts have not only caused pay cuts in professors salaries but has decreased the number of class meetings. Therefore, I fail to see how disrupting an valuable class meeting proves a point. These students walked out of a class to protest the lack of classes. Furthermore, the state wide protest was to begin at 2:00 or 3:00 p.m. (this is still not clear) and these students were being disruptive at 11:00 a.m. I even had a woman in my class say to me,
I am not going to class (at 11:00 am) because I am protesting. But will you meet me at 12:15 (when our class ends) and share your notes with me?
Seriously?!!! For one a grown woman should have enough sense to partake in only organized protest that have the potential to make a difference. Second, do not ask for my notes. You made your uneducated choice so stick with it.
A little back ground on California State University, Northridge:
Our tuition is less the $3000 a semester. Our tuition increased came back in July. Now for University of California Los Angeles students I understand their rage. Their tuition was increased after the deadline to apply for more financial aide. I understand the frustration with not being able to purchase books, pay for classes or have money to eat.
Now back to California State University, Northridge. Our tuition is fairly small in comparison to other state universities. Most run between $5000-$6000 a semester for undergraduates.
The $3000 each student pays only covers about 1/3 of the resources that student uses in one semester. The rest is state funded because the California State University system does not offer Ph.D. programs. Without Ph.D. programs the state universities are not eligible for grants and funding other universities are receiving. Do not get me wrong, I too am outraged at the tuition increase while rumors circulate that our university president and chancellor receive raises. I am outraged at the increase in tuition and class size while the number of class options and class meetings decrease. I am outraged that incredible professors are being under paid and under valued.
I completely understand yesterday was a state wide walk out for all the California State University and the University of California schools. I just do not see the logic behind students becoming violent with police officers and refusing to support the professors who sacrifice time and money in order to perpetuate the spirit of higher education. Again, this pertains to Northridge students. I do not know what took place on other campuses nor do I know their tuition and class situation.
Now, as I was leaving campus after my last class I was informed of an actually organized protest. I would have liked to haven known about this sooner, but again this whole process seems to be incredibly unorganized and under publicized. I support organization that encourages knowledge and takes the appropriate measures for change. As I write this post I am still a little confused on the details of what took place. What I want to make clear is that I do not support ignorant action that was ultimately motived by a reason to skip classes.
The truth of the matter is that other California citizens have to begin to understand the value in higher education. As a state we need to stop giving unemployment to those who are too lazy to look for jobs and too busy reproducing in order to collect more money. We need to stop funding funerals for celebrities that cost more the $5 million. We need to stop throwing Occur and Grammy parties for the wealthy. We desperately need to start giving aid to students who have proven their desire to be successful. We need to start valuing and respecting our teachers. All of this becomes a little more impossible when students fail to educate themselves on the how to make change and march around campus with pie tins and whistles. The people in the class rooms are aware of the problem. The ones who need the eye opener are across the way sitting in their leather chairs and air conditioned offices.