Public school strike affects Trojans, too

On March 4, we will witness the next great battle for public education in California as tens of thousands of students, faculty and workers across the state go on strike to demonstrate their rejection of the state’s attempts to impose massive cutbacks and fee hikes on public institutions of higher learning. For the sake of California higher education, it is vital that their voices are heard.

Betsy Avila | Daily Trojan

The trouble has been brewing for months. Last fall, the University of California Board of Regents agreed to a 32 percent fee hike for UC undergraduate tuition statewide in order to help close an $813 million hole in the UC budget, on top of a 9.3 percent tuition hike agreed upon only a few months before.

The issue, however, goes back much further, as the fee hikes represent a 300 percent increase over the last decade. Given that the gross domestic product per capita in California has not increased even 40 percent in the last decade, the size of the fee hikes makes a mockery of the idea that anyone calling the shots intends for public education to remain affordable to the general public any longer. As the California Coordinating Committee asserts, “education cuts are attacks against all of us, particularly in working-class communities and communities of color.”

If anything, the fee hikes represent a sustained attack on the part of our legislators to limit the access of the working class to public universities. The side effect of this campaign is that middle-class households will have to take out more loans than ever to afford what was intended to be an affordable education for all Californians, subsidized through the taxes of all residents of the Golden State.

California legislators eagerly point to the global recession as a cause of the problem, correctly identifying one of the short term causes that has led to the budget crunch we find ourselves in. But it is ignoble to make this argument while at the same time overlooking the rest of the facts.

In the 2009 state budget, $12.4 billion was allotted to help build more prison cells while at the same time $11 billion was cut from education — this at a time in our state’s history when levels of crime have hit new lows. Instead of supporting education and helping youth get an education, the state is cutting their classes, raising their fees. Is this a good plan for California’s future?

On the national level, meanwhile, our tax dollars are being spent to fund the occupation of two sovereign states, Iraq and Afghanistan, costing this country $1.05 trillion to date. Apparently, the richest country on Earth has enough money to drop bombs from drones but cannot allow its own children to gain a decent education without falling into deep debt.

Students at public institutions across the state and the country are angry, and rightly so. As students of the University of Southern California, we should also be outraged by the decisions the state is making with our tax dollars to deny hundreds of thousands of students their right to a decent public education.

We have chosen not to attend a public institution, but we must still be infuriated that our tax money, meant for the good of this great state and its great people, is being squandered by our shameless officials.

I, for one, will be protesting on March 4th.

Alex Shams is senior majoring in international relations.

7 replies
  1. Joe
    Joe says:

    Ah, the entitlement mentality. “If we have enough money to enforce the law and preserve the national defense, then SURELY we have enough money to buy ME the free stuff that I want!” Check your priorities, kiddo… buying entitlements for moochers is a luxury — the military and the prisons are necessities.

    Here’s a free-market solution: how about instead of providing tax-funded subsidies to these universities, let the state use its money to guarantee student loans for California citizens. The universities will have to charge full price, but if they’re worth it, the students will be able to pay for it. If they can’t perform, then the students will go somewhere better. (WHICH IS FINE.)

  2. Brenda
    Brenda says:

    California is BROKE

    You can “tax the rich” but they will move to lower tax states

    Leaving the middle income people (us) to pay and pay.

    But guess what, middle income jobs are gone, outsourced, and not coming back.

    USC will have to rethink its model. We all will.

    So UC can “protest” but it’s like getting blood out of a turnip, the turnip is dead!

    The economic crisis continues to worsen

    See —–thecomingdepression dot blogspot dot com

  3. Brenda
    Brenda says:

    One solution to UC funding problems:

    Make the first 2 years online-only. Student to study at home and save up money for his education, work part or full time, etc

    After the student finishes freshman and sophomore year successfully online, then enroll on campus as a junior.

    Some students in certain majors can successfully complete an entire BA online, whilst also working in or close to their field of study.

  4. Brenda
    Brenda says:

    If you research the UC system, you will find that it is full of huge salaries and bloat at all levels. Remember at UC Santa Cruz where the Chancellor hired her own partner at a huge salary?

    Do your research about where the money goes in that system and you will be amazed.

    The salaries, benefits, retirement pay, etc is astronomical.

    • benda
      benda says:

      I believe that UC Santa Cruz Chancellor committed suicide after she gained self-realization that she was in the wrong for abusing her position and perquisites. Yeah, she even had some frivolous “playground” built for her dog or something…At least she demonstrated her moral consciousness.

      btw, your solution below is practical yet humorous.

  5. Suni Ellis
    Suni Ellis says:

    I would like to see the article “Public school PROTEST affects Trojans, too” be published after March 4th.
    If the protesters get their way and the State of California continues to spend billions of dollars that it doesn’t have, it will much more adversely affect Trojans than what the author lists in this opinion. California’s collapsing credit rating and looming insolvency seems scarier than people paying more for their already taxpayer-subsidized education.

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