OPINION: CSU tuition raises are met with no student activism at Capitol

It is disappointing to see students be told to fork over more money for their education and sigh with resignation, rather than take an argument to the Capitol lawn.


Rin Carbin - The State Hornet

Students protesting the inaugration of President Donald Trump walk past Sac State President Robert Nelsen as he looks on. Those protests were cathartic, but protests of a tuition raise could make a real difference.

Kameron Schmid, Opinion editor

When President Donald Trump was both elected and inaugurated, the Sacramento State campus was a close representation of how many other college campuses and cities nationwide reacted: with protests calling for change.

Altogether, these protests featuring hundreds of Sac State students and campus community members were cathartic, but naturally did little to change anything nearly 3,000 miles away.

   RELATED: Sac State students, faculty protest Trump inauguration

So why then, with one tuition increase in the mirror and another staring students in the face like a deer in the headlights on a dark country road, have there not been protests already? Why does it feel like the response to this has been sluggish?

This, unlike national politics, is an issue where we students have the capability to successfully fight for change.

It is easy to make the case that protests won’t make a sizable difference in any case; but no California State University is closer to the Capitol building than Sac State. And it’s there that Gov. Jerry Brown and the state legislature continue to decide to underfund the CSU system.

The money that students are being asked to fork over to cover the difference between what the CSU asked for and what the state is offering is far more than chump change, too; the proposed change for the coming year is an additional $228 per academic year, and last year’s now-active change was an extra $270.

   RELATED: Governor’s budget proposal may lead to $228 tuition increase for CSU students

That totals out to an extra $498 a year if the new hike is passed by the trustees. For incoming freshmen, that’s almost an extra $2,000 in their total tuition, and that’s if they graduate in the expected but rare four-year window.

If they don’t graduate in four years, or manage to but take out loans for every dollar of tuition, students will be footing an even bigger bill than what is being conveyed.

Where is the anger? Where is the motivation? Where is even the knowledge that this is happening?

Members of Sac State’s Associated Students Inc., the governing body representing Sac State students, have plans to go lobby with legislators at the Capitol. Not to cast doubt without evidence, but those same plans were followed through last year, and they clearly weren’t enough to prevent last year’s tuition raise or this year’s funding shortfall.

Will the elected — and scholarship-compensated— representatives of every student at Sac State make go above-and-beyond to sound the alarm to make students aware of these coming changes? Will they be the driving force behind a large, public protest of California’s continuing trend to funding the CSU less and less?

Are Sac State’s clubs representing disenfranchised communities banding together to gather on the Capitol lawn, like they gathered last year to protest Trump? This time the College Republicans can come and pitch in, rather than literally stand in the way.

No matter what, the continued decision of the CSU to ask for more and more as California gives less and less is hurting students the most. So now it is time for students to stand up and fight for something we can actually change.