We must find ways to stop ‘business as usual’ in form of tuition increases

As students, it seems as though the price tag of our tuition continues to increase as our hopes decrease.

The Oregon State University board of trustees met Thursday to conclude discussion on whether or not to approve mandatory and tuition fees for fiscal year 2017.

Resident students will see an increase of 2.1 percent, non-residents an increase of 4 percent and honors college an increase of 4.7 percent.

Each member of the board voted yes on the proposals except one: Mark Baldwin, the board’s faculty representative at OSU.

For the sake of essential state funds and programs, board members who prefer that the budgets be passed came to the overall conclusion decided it would be best to push forward as opposed to making any additional revisions.

There’s no easy way to put it: this sucks.

Across the state, university and community college students continue to struggle with access to additional funds as tuition prices climb to match a lack in state funds.

We see our admins, OSU President Ed Ray included, talk of how they want college to be more affordable and work to make sure access is also improved to increase enrollment levels.

These same admins also want to make sure that the programs, facilities and diversity support programs we have receive the optimal amount of funding that they need.

It’s easy to point fingers and yell at the administrators, but they’re only part of this price problem, if not a potential part of a solution we merely have yet to see.

We want to believe they’re trying their best to examine the best interest of students. They want to increase the life and access for students on campus, or so they claim. However, this becomes challenging with prices raising across the board.

It’s also important to note that this isn’t just a state problem, but a continued challenge nationwide.

Then we have the student side of this.

Though there are open forums and other public meetings that take place to gauge student input, rarely do we see an increased level of students—usually no more than 15—present.

We commend those who do participate—one such group was Allied Students of Another Politics (ASAP).

It’s essential that administrators get this information out to students in as many ways as they can.

In addition, it’s the responsibility for the Associated Students of Oregon State University (ASOSU) to spread word and hold additional events to ensure that more information gets out there.

It’s also essential for everyday students—regardless of financial background—to get involved with these discussions in some way, shape or form. We cannot blame the administration for not taking more time to consider such a decision if they only see a fraction of their stakeholders at meetings and forums.

We understand that, in the end, there’s no easy solution to this problem.

But if we had to point to one weakness in all of this, we would say it’s communication first and foremost.

Administrators: Consider finding some way to hold an increased amount of forums so that more students could take time out of their busy schedules to get involved on a greater level.

Student government: Promote, promote, promote. Make this a key issue on your website, your tabled events and through other outlets on campus. If your administration comes into office using the “A” word (that’s affordability), follow up with some action to go along with your politics.

And students: Attend these events. Keep an eye on community posters, flyers and publications that may announce when such events take place. Push your administrators to host events that better help address all concerns and offer constructive suggestions.

President Ray says he’s against business as usual, but it doesn’t seem like that’s going to change anytime soon.

It could, though. But it won’t be easy.

It’s going to take collective action from each and every one of us.

Additional information on future board of trustees meetings can be found at leadership.oregonstate.edu/trustees.

If these people care about you, make them prove it.

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