Education compromise and fighting for the scraps

Brian FosdickIt’s likely most people brushed over this little bit of news, but recently the Tuition Task Force at CSU took some data on CSU students to find out what students were looking to see in next year’s budget with regard to tuition increases and faculty salaries. The data they received apparently came as a surprise as the task force had assumed students would be completely against tuition increase for faculty wages, when in reality most students seemed willing to compromise.

That assumption, though, had me wondering. Why is it that the Task Force assumed that students were so dead set against tuition increases? It’s no mystery if you look at the numbers over the past couple of years that students of high education are getting shafted. The article previously mentioned ever points out that students have experienced a 13 percent per year tuition increase over the past decade. At the same time, I have at no point ever blamed any of this increase on professors.

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At some point we’re going to have to admit to ourselves here that professors and students alike are fighting over the scraps of a broken higher education system. You’d be hard press to find a student who thinks that the sole reason their tuition is skyrocketing each year is because their teachers want a raise. College has become a business, and trying to paint students or teachers as the bad guys is a silly and frankly insulting tactic.

I’m not saying the Task Force is trying to paint anyone as the bad guys mind you, I’m simply saying situations like that are doing their best to turn one side against the other. As if we have to fight each other to keep our tuitions low or our salaries high.

The fact of the matter is if we want either of these things, we need to start changing the societal view on the value of higher education. It’s strange how almost everyone seems to agree that higher education is essential yet nobody seems to want to fund it. According to an article written by our own Austin Briggs, Colorado ranks last for higher education funding per student. It’s no mystery that Colorado as a state has made every effort to completely defund higher education.

This little game we’re playing right now of trying to compromise who gets to be less shafted in the short term future is a joke. Students and teachers alike need to start examining how actively they are pushing for higher education funding.

With the election of a new CSU senate leader it’s time we start challenging students not to look inside of the university for answers as to how funding is a problem and start looking outside of the university where we’re getting almost no help at all. A lack of definitive leadership that targets and challenges the actual problem has been sorely lacking throughout this entire debacle of determining how much of a raise professors should be getting.

The fact of the matter is, though a picture of conflict is being painted with these tuition increases, students and teachers are playing on the same team. We have the knowledge, the power, and the resources to stage active campaigns against the defunding of higher education, but we don’t. I will be the first to say, though, that I support my educators and I think they deserve more, just like students do. Let’s hope the public starts seeing it that way as well.

Brian Fosdick is a junior journalism major. His columns appear Wednesdays in the Collegian Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.