[Editor’s note: This is an unedited copy of a post that was made on the UBCSUO’s Facebook page on Feb. 1st in response to the National Day of Action event that day. The post was removed soon after.]
I am a frustrated student.
I am frustrated that the Dean apparently made the (not publicly announced) decision that absence from class today was excusable because of the “Day of Action”. I am frustrated that Professors who care enough about their class receiving the same information wasted today’s class time instead of moving forward without the students who decided to take the day off to “be heard”. I am frustrated that because the Student Union decided to do another useless “Fee Drop” event (the “Banner Drop”) that my tuition for today’s classes was wasted. That’s $12 per course that is held for one hour three-times a week. Today you wasted $36 of my tuition. You should multiply that for all the students who actually showed up to learn today who were not provided a worthwhile class. (Based on tuition of $460.83 per course divided by 13 weeks divided by 3 hours per week.) My money was wasted and my time was wasted for a “Fee Drop” event that totally missed the mark.
The problem runs deeper than tuition rates being too high. There would need to be a province-wide, probably country-wide change in the way we fund post-secondary education. We as a country need to decide that it is in everyone’s best interests for the employed to pay higher taxes in order to fund the next generation’s education (our future doctors, caretakers, policy makers, etc.) rather than forcing students to fund their own way and enter the workplace in debt. We as a country need to decide that we want to “pay-it-forward” instead of being so self-serving.
No amount of whining at the institutional level about how much we can’t afford the educations we’re buying is going to make that change.
I encourage raising awareness, but this flash-mob song choice missed the mark by so much that it just made me angry: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qcEc5E9RrLs
It is ALL about the money. We need to provide ways to change WHERE the money is coming from and WHO is paying the money. We can’t just dance happily about how we all want to be educated for free like we haven’t made this choice in order to get better paying jobs in the end. It’s going to require social change. It’s going to require country-wide change. Let’s at least be honest about why we’re attending post-secondary institutions. Of course it’s about the money. (Let me know when love will buy me a degree. I’ll be the most loving person you know.)
The Student Union seemed to spend a lot of our precious money on printing off posters that didn’t even portray what “Day of Action” was about. Sometimes vague marketing works.
Sometimes that poster with few words and a website to visit pique the interest of the people passing. But for most of us who are sick of seeing the words “Education is a Right” plastered all over the school, we’d rather not see you waste money on vague advertising, and we’d love to see you try to win us over with some realistic goals for change.
The Student Union seemed to spend a lot of money on other costs to turn today into an “event” as well. I’m sure I speak for a lot of the student population when I say that as your funders, we’d love to see where our student fees are being spent. You might not consider that Student Union Fee as “tuition”, but it comes out of my account at the same time as my tuition; it’s money I don’t get to spend on textbooks, food, or rent, and unlike my tuition fees, it doesn’t eventually pay me back in degree credits. I would like to see the Student Union be more transparent on what you’re spending on events that seem to be more about putting on a show than the change they claim to be supporting.
I did finally check out the Education is a Right site (http://educationisaright.ca/), which I put off for a long time because the site’s name starts me off on a muttering, rambling rant all on its own. The website, which is promoting a country-wide reassessment of how we’re paying for education seems to have better addressed the issue than the Student Union has. Which is a relief. I’d hate to see schools all across the country “drop the ball” on the actual message of the campaign as badly as we have. (Pun so intended.)
UBC Okanagan’s campus Student Union has once-again missed the mark by focusing on the “Fees Drop.” I am SO TIRED of the “Drop stuff for Fee Dropping awareness.” Let’s throw pumpkins off scaffolding, and “Drop a banner” over the highway, and that will successfully rally our students into realizing tuition is too high without actually putting forward any useful methods of change! Newsflash: We all know tuition is high. We know we can’t afford it. We know we’ll be in debt once we graduate. We do wish University was accessible for everyone but it is going to require social change nation wide.
Being in University is about developing ways to make society better, and making the future better for those who follow in our footsteps. Our Student Union needs to start fostering DOABLE IDEAS and stop dropping crap in order to create campus unity.
Next time you put on a “Tuition Fees are Too High” event, please don’t leave out half the message: that the money actually does need to come from somewhere. Start asking the student body for ideas about how we can start social change to make education more affordable for everyone. And try to spend less while you’re doing it. I’d rather have my $126.23 Student Union Fee back in my pocket than see you renting an inflatable castle and putting on a BBQ. And don’t get the Dean to approve an unannounced day off without refunding the student population for a day of classes.