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Weidemann clarifies previous letter

To the Editor,

Thank you for printing my letter in your paper.  I have been happy with the feedback I have received from many students both agreeing and disagreeing with myself.  There is one area of my letter, however, I would like to clarify for any who found my point vague.

The idea that the proposal I voiced was a “political stunt,” as some have suggested, goes to the heart of the intent of my criticism.  This proposal was not meant as a catch all solution to our budgetary woes, in which case it would indeed be a “political stunt.”  Asking the administration to help bear the burden of a tuition hike by the means suggested would be a symbolic gesture that would help us students swallow the pill of increased tuition.  I see no reason why or student representatives could not be in favor of such a condition on our approval.

Furthermore, SGA’s act of unanimously supporting this tuition hike in a symbolic vote is itself a “political stunt,” the problem being it is a stunt with the administration’s interests in mind, not ours.  By failing to promote student interests and allowing its actions to become talking points for the administration SGA has failed to represent its constituents.  It isn’t the system that the students, myself included, disapprove of; it is the abuse and neglect of the system.

There is no one-stop solution to budget problems, and I am not suggesting that tuition increases are out of the question.  If they are employed, however, they should come only after the students have seen evidence of budgetary cuts that do not hinder the quality of our education and only if they are not unilaterally placed on students.  We want to know the powers that be, specifically those responsible for raising tuition, are sharing the burden.  And we see our student representatives as being responsible for ensuring this.  Perhaps there was an administrative hand behind SGA’s tuition vote and perhaps not.  Either way, we students understand it to be a major missed opportunity.  Because our representatives failed to attach conditions to a bill vital to our interests, symbolic or not, they gave our voices up to the administration’s agenda.

I would like to stress that this is not intended as an attack on any individual’s character or integrity.  Respect is due to all persons willing to make an informed judgment on these issues, whether it is the same as mine or not.  Hopefully this dialogue will continue to provoke MWSU students to engage in thoughtful discussion on the issues we face, both as students and as a university.

Respectfully,

Gary Weidemann

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