I know that the tuition increase has caused stress, anxiety, and anger. I know that students are frustrated with what feels like a lack of commitment to diversity and inclusion. I know that the process for determining need is often inequitable. I know that students feel that their voices are not being heard, and concerns are being tossed aside. I know.
Students (and alum, staff, faculty, and community members) can and should use their voice in the way they best see fit. Whether it is sending an email, making posters, or more. An educational institution cannot truly succeed without listening to student voices. It is critical in this moment that students speak up. You have immense power as students. We often think of using our voices as calling U.S. Congress representatives for the big issues — but activism starts small. The things with the biggest impact on you are often the smallest scale. People talk in the news every day about the rising college debt and how unaffordable it is, but it is having a direct impact in this moment. So in this moment, speak up.
There are other things I know. I know that this decision has already been made and cannot be reversed, and that it is necessary to continue providing quality education. I know that financial aide will increase for some students, but the amount awarded is limited to the federal FAFSA program. I know that this limits the assistance to DACA and International students. I also know that the majority of our tuition dollars go to paying for the faculty and staff we love so dearly.
This does not mean you should not use your voice. It does mean that I have something to ask of you. That in addition to raising your voice however you see fit, please help me to advocate for things that can change. If the decision is final, and need is limited by FAFSA, what other gaps can we fill?
Can we advocate for a more a equitable financial need housing exemption?
Can we advocate for expanded wellness resources like reduced costs at Student Health Services?
Can we advocate for a basic needs resource center?
So please, go out there and raise your flags and shout from the rooftops. Then go home, make a cup of tea, and shoot me an email. I want to know the other gaps we can fill.