Friday, March 11, 2005

New column: Putting the ‘Greed’ in ‘Degree’

This UL-centric column will be out the day after Student Government Association (SGA) elections. SGA has nearly doubled tuition in the last three or four years (with the occasional something to show for it). I think anyone who has been to college can identify with its point that education dollars often go toward questionable choices.

This is the first of my columns to carry a true disclaimer at the end. I hate doing that. Judging from recent feedback, however, people apparently need to be told when something's true and when it isn't. Blah.

With all of the events going on in national politics, the Personal Ian McGibboney Press has unfortunately neglected the political scene here at the University of Louisiana. So here is the latest word on campus politics:

LAFAYETTE (PIMP)--A proposal by the UL Student Government Association passed easily Tuesday, with students overwhelmingly voting to pointlessly jack up tuition.

By a vote of 1121-575, students approved Referendum 2, which asked full-time students to "assess themselves an extra $78 per semester, for no reason other than to make their tuition bills really huge."

SGA officials greeted the referendum's passage with extreme pride, calling it "a victory for the UL community." SGA president Katie Ortego said that the tuition increase will give the students a feeling of attending a more expensive school.

“LSU, UCLA, Duke, Harvard and Yale…what do all of these schools have in common?” she asked. “High academic rankings, national prominence and astronomically high tuition, that’s what. Your SGA simply put two and two together.”

Ortego contributed the success of the tuition hike to the student body's acceptance of previous tuition increases.

"The UL student population has, time and again, shown its enthusiasm for tuition increases. At first, we figured we had a tough sell. In Spring of 1999, for example, tuition for a full-time, in-state commuter student was about $928. But through years of promising such marvelous improvements as a five-story parking garage and a new student union, we were able to win hearts and minds."

One anonymous official added that even SGA began to wonder just how many more times they could get away with increasing tuition before students would begin to object. "But when we realized people would never consider the drawbacks of our proposals, such as the unrealistic idea of a parking tower on a back road or the new union taking several years to refurbish, we knew we could be bolder. So we decided to drop the pretense this time around and just ask for the money."

Despite the significant margin of victory in an election that garnered the highest-ever voter turnout, some students voiced skepticism over the pointless tuition jack-up.

"I can't believe that SGA was able to pull the wool over the school's eyes yet again," said an English graduate student who asked not to be identified. "Are students here really so near-sighted as to approve a useless increase in tuition? Such reckless and unaccounted spending threatens the university’s status as one of the best values in the region.”

Still, the student said, “At least they were honest. Such integrity is rare in any form of government these days.”

SGA officials declined to comment on where the new funds would be diverted, other than to make reference to a campus-beautification project.

"We find that the campus is at its most colorful during campaign week, with all of the candidates wearing their party shirts. We also find that SGA is at its most lucrative during campaign week,” said the unnamed official. “So to kill two birds with one stone, we have decided to hold new SGA elections every month. The newly raised funds will be used, in part, to purchase thousands of colorful campaign shirts, so that their presence may be felt on campus every day of the year."

The Big Three is already planning for its next election in April, in which students will be asked to consider two proposals: a $20 tuition increase to provide free issues of “TV Guide” on campus and a $45 increase for constructing new parking spaces in the Quad.

Note: The preceding column was satire. Don't you know me by now? Everything in it is fake, except for the Spring 1999 tuition figure.

7 comments:

The Manning Report said...

I dont know about everyone else but I couldnt post a comment at all today.

Ian McGibboney said...

Yeah, I had the same problem too. I couldn't even modify some of my posts (though the changes seem to have finally gone through).

Nick said...

Icon:

Obviously, I rarely like/agree w/ your columns. However, this is the second one in the last 3 yrs. where I agree whole heartedly, the other was the satire about driving in Lafayette.

This is very unfortunate. The SGA fits its name perfectly, student GOVERNMENT association. The money wasted in that organization is unbelievable (10k for that pepper mascot costume?!). Just like our politicians, Repubs. and Dems. alike, they probably don't feel the effects of their proposals. Most of SGA comes from families very well off like I was by college age, or they probably get some kind of tuition break b/c they're in SGA. If they are going to raise tuition, it needs to go towards keeping the good professors from leaving and not towards stupid shit like "gates" for the school entrance.

MagicalShrimp said...

I think the logic they're hoping for us to use is that maybe, the more tuition you pay, the better your school must be!

sociable_solipsist said...

Gotta love good satire. As a graduate and former SGA conspirator from another U of L I'm thrilled to have an SGA ridden.

Ian McGibboney said...

Nick,

So you didn't like any of my columns about needing better care and caution for our troops? I'm disappointed.

M said...

Don't tempt the SGA to have elections ALL the time, I think they'll do it. This is my first set of elections...too bad it's not my last.