Mar 042012
 
Authors: Seth Stern

Last Thursday, March 1, the Collegian’s editorial board took the Student Fee Review Board to task for requesting student input concerning an increase in student fees to fund the Adult Learners and Veteran Services program.

One accurate criticism stood out from the editorial but was lost in the generally whiny tone. ALVS should never have gone to the SFRB requesting an increase in student fees prior to exhausting every available grant. The Wal-Mart grant that sustained ALVS the three previous years is no longer an option, hence the shortfall in funding.

But that is no excuse for going to the students for money before asking for cost-free funding.
However, as the sole –– last I checked –– veteran on the Collegian staff, I take exception to the content and tone of the Our View as disconnected, irresponsible and lazy.

The stench of the editorial emanated from the tone of an entitled generation told from birth that society owes them higher education, liberty and security without sacrifice.

It’s laughable to read such disconcertment about an increase of $5.89 to assist non-traditional students and veterans assimilate and succeed in higher education.

The “Our View” opens with a hyperbolic salvo, “Your Student Fee Review Board thinks you’re made of money,” and closes with the hyperbolic, “It’s time to put a stop to these needless increases to our student fees. In times of such sickening rises to tuition, it is utterly shameful that SFRB would throw our money at every organization that gives them a sob story.”

Both made it obvious the Collegian editorial board is upset they may end up paying slightly more than half of what they receive for a single published article or column per year to, in their words, “fork out such a hefty fee for the small percentage of adult learners and veterans on campus.”

The number of students identified as “Adult Learners,” or veterans, is indeed a very small portion of the overall student population, but the description of the fee compared to the benefit is inaccurate.

Student fees typically benefit a very small number of students compared to the overall population, and the editorial board chose to exclude those. Athletics receives $103.85; Campus Recreation, $115.58; the Career Center, $27; Lory Student Center, $90.67; ASAP, yes the group that brought in not one, but two Wayans Brothers, and the School of the Arts Advisory Council takes each of us for $9.12.

Of the approximately 20,000 students at CSU, how many of us receive the value of the Franklin we’re dropping on Campus Rec and Athletics?

I could make a strong argument that we all deserve a refund of whatever portion of the Athletics budget went to football for the last four years, but I don’t see the students bitching about that money ill-spent.

Take a look at the fees you’re paying annually. Each college has its own small fees worked into the equation. For instance, the Business College charges a technology fee, from which every student in the college receives a copy of Windows and the latest Office suite.

What percentage of the business students have taken the time to collect that for which they’ve paid? The reality of the situation calls for the obvious compromise. No organization at CSU should be asking for a dime of student fees if all grant funding options have not been explored and exhausted.

Secondary to that, the Collegian’s editorial board needs to conduct more research, ask more questions and think about the big picture before they wax rhetoric about the inhumane nature of student fee increases that benefit a group of students who already sacrificed more than the majority of CSU students ever will.

Yes, your tuition is going to increase as revenues decrease. College is going to cost more than you anticipate. So will groceries, gas, beer and the opposite sex. You know which students know this already? The adult learners and veterans.

But I wonder if the Collegian’s editorial board would have had the audacity to use similar phrasing and tone had it instead been the Committee for Disabled Student Accessibility? Perhaps it slipped the minds of the board that many of the returning veterans suffer from both mental and physical disabilities and the benefits of ALVS to those wounded warriors exceeds a monetary value.

ALVS asked for an increase in fees before other options were exhausted –– that was lazy and incompetent. The Collegian overreacted –– that was lazy and unprofessional.

S. Jacob Stern benevolently contributes his sarcasm to both ALVS and the Collegian. His column appears Mondays in the Collegian. He can be reached at letters@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 2:53 pm

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