Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Mandatory Fees aggravate conservative students

The fees that are tacked on to your child's college tuition may be going to support causes and policies you'd prefer not to underwrite--like women's studies programs, or bisexual social events. Here's a story in a Campus Magazine Online by CJ Ciaramella, Blog Editor for CAMPUS Magazine Online.

"The publication I write for at the University of Oregon, the Oregon Commentator, has been fighting the mandatory fee (known at UO as the Incidental Fee) for the better part of 20 years. In 1995, before Southworth and viewpoint neutrality, one of the members of the Oregon Commentator sued the State Board of Higher Education on the "freedom of conscience" grounds.His main objection was the previously mentioned OSPIRG, a political group that sends student money off campus for lobbying purposes. He lost, and OSPIRG still filches thousands of dollars from students. Coincidentally, the case was cited in Southworth.

Furthermore, the mandatory fee creates bad incentives in student government. For years now at the UO (and I'm sure other universities) student unions have maintained a stranglehold on the student government. With low voter turnout, student unions are able to swing elections to candidates that promise to keep the gravy train running. I won't even get into the instances of student government using I-fee money to send themselves to fancy conferences, throw parties (excuse me, "retreats"), etc."

Time to ask the university/college to explain the fees, don't you think? It's your money. Think ACORN with training wheels.


PG said...

A Supreme Court case that addressed how these student activities fees are spent, Rosenberger v. University of Virginia, was about "Wide Awake," an evangelical Christian publication. The Court ultimately found that this publication had to be funded. I wonder if parents of non-Christian students might object to their money going to evangelizing.

Norma said...

Knowing how Christians squabble among themselves, I suspect parents would object even on the basis that it's another Christian group. The fee distribution idea is a poor one, from start to finish, and requires those students who never join anything to pay for the activities of those who join everything. Get rid of the fees, and let the joiners pay and the non-joiners go to a concert or out to eat.