You can’t have your cake and eat it too — a line we’ve all heard way too often. However, it’s trite but true, and aptly applies to the attitude many students have in light of recent events.
There have been several causes that have galvanized the student body. Recently, the University enacted a tuition hike from $49,464 to $51,442, coming after Undergraduate Student Government and others have been pushing for a tuition freeze. On March 7, students took to the streets to protest the decision.
Students and student government have also pushed for additional steps to improve campus. Last fall, USG passed a Campus Climate Resolution, which sought to address discrimination and diversity on campus. Among other things, the resolution called for a $100 million dollar fund to support underrepresented minorities, a vice president of diversity, and additional cultural resources. Students have even stood with campus workers in protest and to support increased wages and benefits for campus workers.
One, if not all, of these issues have been supported by the majority of the student body; however, students have neglected the practicality and consequences of the issues.
There’s no such thing as a free lunch. If campus workers are to receive higher wages and better benefits, then the University has to find the money to make it happen. If there is to be a $100 million fund to support underrepresented minorities and additional administrative positions, then the University must find a way to generate the necessary capital. From the University’s perspective, both of these are easily solved and accommodated by raising the tuition. But how could the University realistically acquiesce to these demands while also committing itself to maintaining or lowering the current cost to attend?
It is easy to get behind every cause worth supporting, however, each student must consider how each fits into the whole. Students cannot be naive and must practically consider the full implications of the causes they support if they are implemented. Many students claimed that the tuition hike is an indication their voice has been ignored, when in fact it is the opposite. A tuition hike is one very realistic possible consequence of the University hearing the student body’s voice, of the University meeting the demands and reforms advocated for.
The price of tuition, workers’ rights and diversity are all critical issues we must continue to discuss. But beyond the politics of each of these issues is an undeniable fact that we all must consider, which is that in many ways, one or more of them are mutually exclusive. Any failure not to observe this would be shortsighted. What really must take place is a conversation about what is most important to us as student body. If we have to choose, what is most critical? We can’t have our cake and eat it too.
Assistant Director, USG University Affairs