Students should ask before complaint

ReAnne Utemark

Numbers are not my game. Math was always my least favorite subject and anyone who is good at math might well be my hero. In any case, the debate about tuition leaves many students in the dark with no explanation, emptier savings accounts and bigger loans.

A recent Topeka Capital-Journal article by Tim Carpenter, of whose reporting I am a fan, explained that the student body presidents of Emporia State, Kansas State and the University of Kansas advocated higher tuition rates for their respective schools. The arguments they made were understandable. In the case of Emporia an increase in tuition would help expand the faculty, and at K-State it would help get smaller class sizes. However, most of these reasons are not explained to students and therefore, students are upset they are paying increasingly more for the same education they were getting four years ago. Carpenter also mentioned in the article that Washburn’s tuition had gone up 84 percent, which is astounding, considering KU’s went up 176 percent.

Where is this money going? Why is it being spent this way? These are questions that should be asked by students. If a student is upset because their tuition is being increased, they should ask the questions and then decide if those are worthy causes. Just as during the student activity fee increase debate, was the ultimate resting place within the university worth students’ dollars? Raising tuition is not just something the administration does to “screw students over,” as I have heard some complain.

Complaining about tuition going up is a healthy thing, but it should be accompanied by healthy analysis by students. Do not just let the student newspaper or the student government association tell the student body pieces of information. I think it is healthy for students to get involved in an organized way. Perhaps throwing bricks through President Farley’s windows is not an organized way; rather, that is the torch-wielding villager kind of way. The torch-wielding villager kind of way does not get anything done except trying to kill the Frankenstein monster and burning witches at the stake. Most often, this anger and resentment is misapplied and misdirected.

This is not the Bod Blast, admissions and everyone-else-who-gave-you-a-speech-freshman-year speech, but it is important for the students who are going to be paying higher tuition to go out and ask questions of their administrators, of their faculty and of their fellow students. WSGA elections are coming up and many promises will be made, some of them to be kept and some of them to be forgotten, but those students are running, we hope, to serve and represent the student body as a whole. Do not be too afraid or too lazy to ask questions of them. Do not be too lazy to ask questions of your student newspaper. Are we asking the questions to which you want answers?

I suppose this is meant to urge students to ask instead of just complaining to each other in the Union. A part of the reason a university exists is to create people, citizens, who will do something instead of just falling in line.

To check out the Topeka Capital-Journal article, visit