The Need for Communication

As the 2010-2011 school year begins, we are faced with yet another budget crisis. Unfortunately, the solution to the lack of monetary funds for public education is to once again look to us – the students – to bail the UC system out and make up the difference. But why is that? Why must we, the so-called “next generation,” suffer? Why are we told to look to Sacramento and put pressure on them when it is the Regents who are voting to raise our student fees in the middle of the year? Are there alternative solutions to pushing students further into debt? Is this fee increase really a “last resort,” or can other things be done?

But there is a bigger problem to be addressed here, and that is the announcement of an impending fee increase. In November, approximately one month from now, the Regents will be voting to raise our student fees by anywhere from 1 to 20 percent mid-year. This is a very real issue and one that should be taken as seriously as the 32 percent increase last November, which was monumental in itself. In a worst-case scenario, we are looking at a fee increase of not just hundreds of dollars, but thousands.

Now, more than ever, we as a student body must become informed and educated about where our money is going and what it’s being used for. We need to ask questions about why the increases are happening and what steps can be taken to preserve the quality of our education without forcing us to bear the weight of exorbitant fees.

Merely being informed is not enough. We need to care. We cannot allow ourselves to be apathetic. Seniors, just because you’ll be graduating in June doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be concerned. Your younger peers and the incoming generations of students will all be affected. Everyone deserves a quality education, and that should not be taken from those unable to pay thousands of dollars a year for a University of California education.

However, we will not solve anything simply by being angry about the situation – and certainly not by being angry at each other. We are affected by the decisions of the UC Regents as a whole – male or female, senior or freshman – and we should work together as a whole to protest the additional financial burdens being placed upon our shoulders. We owe it to ourselves and to future UC students to cooperate with one other during these times. It is hard enough for our voices to be heard and taken seriously without divisions amongst ourselves.

We are at a university, an institution of higher education, to become informed and educated citizens. We, as students, must be open to communication and dialogue. Without direct communication, we cannot move forward as a society. There can be no progress if we do not confront the issues we do not understand. We must be conscious of the fact that every voice matters and if we speak based on misinformation, we run the risk of losing support.

The lines of communication must be kept open. In a time when the UC Regents can keep their plans from students until mere weeks before their decisions, we need to be in constant and direct dialogue with each other in our goals to become educated and work together to be visible to those who do not understand the enormous burden being put upon the shoulders of the students.

Send comments to newuopinion@newuniversity.org. Include your name, year, and major.