Guest Viewpoint: Students to legislators: We may drown in debt
This piece reflects the views of the authors, Natalie Fisher and Andrew Dunn of ASUO executive, and not those of Emerald Media Group. It has been edited by the Emerald for grammar and style. Send your columns or submissions about our content or campus issues to [email protected]
About tuition… as you may know, the University of Oregon faces a $25 million increase in operating costs next year. This is nothing to scoff at. Just about one-third of this increase is directly correlated to the decision to shift some of the responsibility of PERS (or the Public Employee Retirement System) from the state onto public universities, or more literally onto my student loan debt. That’s fine, but are we sure our faculty are considered public employees, let alone the University of Oregon a public institution, when we receive just around seven percent of our funding from the state?
The recent article in the Register Guard, by Elon Glucklich, describes our dire tuition situation we are facing fairly. Yes, being backed into a corner by our lack of state funding, the current tuition proposal to cover these increasing costs would raise resident tuition above 10 percent and non-resident tuition above three percent for next year, as well as gutting nine million dollars in jobs and essential student services. And yes, students will protest. And yes, we should make our voices heard in the ways we deem necessary. But we are also more than just dissenting voices on the outside of this process.
Students have been organizing for months to advocate for more funding for higher education, including students from the ASUO, the Oregon Student Association and the student organization, Tuition Transparency. There have been two tuition forums, one with the Tuition and Fees Advisory Board, the other with local members of the Board of Trustees as well as a public comment period on the current tuition proposal through Feb. 20 on the tuition website: uoregon.edu/tuition. ASUO student leaders have been tabling on 13th Avenue and talking to different student groups on campus to collect letters to drop on the doorstep of the Ways and Means Committee to demand funding for our education. On Oregon’s birthday, Feb. 14, your peers from across the state, alongside OSA and United Academics, spent the entire day in Salem missing classes and working to fight for our education.
Up next for us: catch the ASUO and your fellow students at the Ways and Means Roadshow at Lane Community College on Feb. 25 and the University of Oregon’s Lobby Day in Salem on March 9. You can find ASUO on Facebook for info on these events.
Won’t you join us?
$30,174 in debt (so far)
ASUO External Vice President
Pell Grant Eligible
$6,000 in debt (and counting)
ASUO External Director of Staff
Do you appreciate independent student journalism? Emerald Media Group is a non-profit organization. Please consider a donation to support our mission.