Forget about last week’s commotion about a tuition increase.
If you want to find a cause for outrage, look no further than the indifference with which the student body, the Associated Students of CSU, and the Collegian have approached the future of funding at CSU. This is the issue that should concern students most.
Consider the priorities of the candidates for president of ASCSU this year – on their campaign Web sites, neither Jake Blumberg nor Katie Gleason mentions the importance of bringing funding to the university. Both campaigns have remained silent on the most important issue in CSU’s future. (In fact, the only student voice on campus that seems to be aware of the scope of the issue seems to be Collegian columnist Drew Haugen.)
The process of acquiring funds for the school is not the sole responsibility of ASCSU. It is a process involving the state legislature, the governor, and limitations on spending imposed by voters.
But if it is worthwhile for the student government to pass resolutions on the war in Iraq in hopes of making a microscopic impact on President Bush’s foreign policy, it is certainly worthwhile to take a stand on an issue where our voice truly matters.
College students played an important role in getting Referendum C passed. When we make the effort to affect our future, we can have great success. So why have we failed to advocate for our own best interest? And why have we been so quiet about the things we have to offer the state?
In February, CSU announced the first “Supercluster” specializing in infectious disease. This model of combining academia with business development highlights the world-class technology and expertise at CSU. Further, Superclusters are designed to help accelerate the transition of ideas and technology from the university to the marketplace.
Several additional Superclusters are on the drawing board in areas like cancer research and green technology. These programs address problems on a global scale and will benefit students at CSU, the state economy, and the global community.
Superclusters and other innovative research areas will make CSU the engine for innovation and economic development in Colorado in the 21st century. As such, we have an increasingly greater claim to state money. Unfortunately, we have not seen funds increase in proportion to CSU’s importance for the state’s future.
As bright as the future looks, it can all be lost if we lack the initiative to nurture it properly. If we want to be exceptional, we must provide funding accordingly – we cannot expect great achievements with insufficient financial support.
The student government has shown it can throw a fuss when it is upset. ASCSU must now prove to the student body, faculty, and administration it understands the problem of inadequate funding at CSU. For starters, they can pass a resolution declaring funding shortages in key research departments unacceptable and another stating the necessity of modest tuition increases.
The rest of the CSU community must also play a role in this process. As President Penley noted an e-mail to students last Friday, this means addressing the root causes of the financial problems at all state colleges and universities.
We need to increase the amount of money devoted to higher education in Colorado. To do so, we need to increase awareness of the problem and of the benefits which will follow.
Adequate provisions for research at CSU helps to ensure businesses utilizing cutting-edge technology can thrive in Colorado. Let’s use our voices to tell the legislature and the voting public how important this is.
Innovation in green technology at CSU helps reduce environmental impacts and improves the lives of millions in the developing world. Let’s continue to see this on the front page of the Collegian, but also make sure we mention the programs’ dependence on funds from the state.
The study of infectious disease will be vital to public health in the coming century. Let’s give this work the same attention we give our sports teams.
Let’s realize the same energy we devoted to opposing the tuition increase last week is needed to provide for our future. The academic year is almost over, but the fight for the future of CSU needs to start now.
Daniel Gibson-Reinemer is a fishery and wildlife biology masters student. His column appears every Tuesday in the Collegian. Replies and feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.