After what has seemed like years of apathy, UAA students finally seem to care about something. Sure, there are always the few vocal students who attempt to make a difference, but with so few of those students in the past, the efforts have been futile.
All it took was a proposed 15 percent increase in tuition, which was then announced as a possible 22 percent increase over the next few years. If there is one thing that students have an opinion about, it is the cost of school.
Students expect tuition increases, but this ballooning increase over a three-year period is unacceptable. There will be no decision about this until the September 2010 Board of Regents meeting, which will be held in Juneau. If passed, this would not go into effect until the Fall 2011 semester.
UA President Mark Hamilton proposed this massive increase because of the tough economical times and students’ want of new, costly academic programs.
Hamilton is correct; times are tough and academic programs are costly. Still, this increase seems to be some kind of shoot-from-the-hip response to this dilemma. What is even more troublesome is that the discussions about this, at least the preliminary discussions, are being held without the allowance of speakerphone testimony. This particular meeting is being held in Dillingham, out of reach of most students and of the main campuses.
The meeting was held in Dillingham this time because there had not been a meeting held there for 13 years. It is important for the Regents to have an understanding of how the entire University system works and not just the portions that are in urban areas like Fairbanks, Anchorage and Juneau.
This is great, but the fact that they were not accepting speakerphone input during the meeting where they are first addressing this issue is completely unacceptable. Because they are holding the meeting in a place that does not typically get the attention that the main campuses get, the Regents decided to tune out the concerns of the main campuses. It is bogus.
Granted, this issue is not one that will be decided upon for a few more months, but students need to start taking action now. The protest that was held on April 15 was a great start and it got all three main campuses involved, but this cannot be the end.
Do not tolerate this type of attitude and conduct from our Regents. It is our money at stake and, in a sense, we are all shareholders in this University. Everything that they do affects us, the students. We do not have to accept this increase or lack of communication about this proposition. We can take action.