Leticia Rodriguez is a journalism senior and Mustang Daily editor-in-chief.
California Governor Jerry Brown released his 2011-2012 budget cut proposal today and, to the surprise of no one I’m sure, the institutions of higher learning in this state are on the chopping block in a big way. In a press release sent out by the Chancellor’s Office and on the governor’s official website, it was reported that he is proposing a $500 million cut from both the California State University (CSU) and University of California systems and $400 million from California Community Colleges. Combined, these three institutions educate more than 3.5 million students across the state.
And to Brown, I would just like to say “Thank you.”
Thank you for creating an even deeper financial strain on parents who just want the best for their children.
Thank you for saying that these are “tough economic times” as if the college students and parents in California had no idea.
And thank you for increasing the divide between races and economic classes in this state.
I understand that no matter what Brown proposed in his budget, there were going to be people who were angry. When you run a state of more than 36 million people, you’re bound to piss off a person or two. But what gets me is the same programs that are continuously being cut in a drastic way are the social programs such as funding for higher education, Medi-Cal ($1.7 billion) and CalWORKS ($1.5 billion); programs used by the lower economic classes in this state who want to pull themselves up and achieve that elusive American dream or at least work hard enough so their children may accomplish what they couldn’t.
While his released budget cuts today were just proposals and there will undoubtedly be a large amount of compromise and give and take, the point of the matter is, in the end, those of you who have a few years left in college or who are just starting out in their freshman year have a long and (even more) expensive future ahead. The Chancellor said in a statement that the CSU system will do whatever it has to in order to lessen the impact on students. But unless they find a magic pot of gold that will enable them to lower tuition and finally start offering all of the classes students need to graduate on time and with minimal debt, an impact will always be felt.
So as students, what should we do? Is there anything we can do?
Certainly taking a page out of the book of British students who, last November, smashed and destroyed a government building over a 6 percent tuition increase isn’t the best idea. But students should be up in arms about it all. Whether your parents can easily afford more than $2,000 a quarter or you’re working three jobs, going to school full-time and have more than $25,000 in student loans, achieving a higher education in America shouldn’t be this hard. The reality of the world is nothing is easy and nothing is free, but when politicians are using state taxpayer money to pay for their vacations or expensive luncheons, damn right I’m pissed.
The inherent right to freedom of speech isn’t being utilized as it should be. Write letters, send e-mails, make phone calls, sit outside the governor’s office — make your voice heard and let these big wigs who live in their political bubble know that we won’t take anymore and that, financially, many families can’t take anymore.
Every college student busted their ass to get into a university in the first place, they shouldn’t have to bust their ass financially to be able to stay in it.