Saturday, December 6, 2014

Student papers on the recent UC fee hikes

In an earlier post, Email to my students about the fee hikes, I shared a communication of mine to my students of Soc 3 Social Problems. In it I asked my students to write:

... a brief reflection (2 paragraphs, less than 1 page) on the event to be passed in to me at our next section meeting, it will count as your grade for this week. This is a class on social problems, and we have been talking quite a bit about understanding how personal troubles relate to a larger social structure. Your reflection should introduce a social problem presented at this event (there will likely be more discussed than just fee hikes) and discuss how it connects to the way in which society is organized.

Here are anonymous selections from a couple of the response papers that I felt were really powerful, especially when read together:

"I myself pay for most of my tuition through financial aid and loans, and every now and then these loan companies send an email letting you know how much you have borrowed and if I have a plan for paying it back when I graduate. The amount of anxiety associated with knowing I'm going to have to find a full time job, (that probably doesn't apply to my major), straight out of college just to start paying these companies back is damaging to my overall performance in school. Why I feel this is such a big issue is because every student put in a massive amount of their own time in order to better themselves. Getting out of bed early for 8am labs, staying in the 24hr room all Saturday just to get a passing grade; and with this planned increase, all that effort could have been for nothing. It still bewilders me that they can take students that have struggled to this point to pay all their fees, and then tell, "I'm sorry, now you have to pay more. Oh, you paid for 3 years but you can't pay for your fourth and final year? Sorry you can't attend our school anymore."
-Student paper on the fee hikes

"According to my girlfriend, who works as a caterer for the campus and who has catered for the chancellor, tells me about overhearing the chancellor talk about spending and spending, and how they are the only ones who understand. All that talk, and while spending countless money on parties and gatherings, things that underprivileged and people who live in poverty cannot do. I find it impossible, and frankly ridiculous, to be understanding of the increase, knowing that it will severely affect myself and others in ways unimaginable, and even generations to come."
- student paper on the fee hikes

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