Skipping Class to Improve Public Education? Really?

UNC Campus Y has organized a protest of tuition hikes for January 12th, which is amusingly titled “Skip Class for Public Education”. Just let the irony of that title sink in for a second… Ok, now a brief moment on the ridiculousness of the idea that cutting class somehow makes a difference in the tuition debate. All this will show the University administration, the Board of Trustees, Board of Governors and all higher ups is that kids are willing to use the excuse of a “cause” (which has largely been decided at this point) to cut class and protest higher tuition… shocker.

All this yelling and emotion is a method that has proven its futility time and again. If the Campus Y, OWS, or any organization truly want to have any effect whatsoever on this process,  they need facts, figures, evidence, and proof that tuition hikes are not in UNC’s interests rather than loud chants and catchy slogans. They argue for unmentioned, unexplained “other solutions” to the problem of budget cuts. What are these solutions, Campus Y? How will they save us from these increases that keep us as one of the best value schools in the nation? I thought Mary Cooper’s plan was a good balance between revenue increases and student concerns for the University, and no one would object to any organization’s attempt to have it be given another look. That is not what the Campus Y seems to be doing, however. The Campus Y is trying to get students to skip class in the first week of the semester, so that they can make themselves feel like they tried to help the students who will be affected by the tuition increases without actually making any difference.

It may seem odd that the Campus Y is having this clearly pointless and disruptive protest. Well, it suggests, to me, that they are more interested in looking like they support students than actually supporting students. Maybe I’m too cynical, but this protest will certainly garner its due 15 minutes in the spotlight on campus (and garner positive publicity for the Campus Y), while in no way aiding students at UNC. In fact, it is easy enough to argue that this protest would actually harm students by sapping any class participation grades they may have accrued had they attended class instead of attending a futile protest. The populist message of the Campus Y would be fine if it were backed by something more solid than “other solutions”, but it’s not.

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