Letter to the editor: OU student reacts to staff editorial

On Sep 4, 2009, at 10:54 AM, Christopher Nesbitt <[email protected]> wrote:

Dear Editor:

While we are all feeling the pain of today’s economy, and yes a decent percentage of students may not like the university’s policies; saying the budget is responsible for turning the university into a “socialist organization” is preposterous.  Universities are their own entities but they have long had their own rules as a State-sponsored institution.  

Socialists make you dependent on their ruling party or in this case, the State.  You have a choice here at Oakland.  You can go here, or go somewhere else.  You have a choice.  You have a freedom to PAY for classes here or transfer and PAY for classes elsewhere.  The university does not try to squash your speech rights, tell you what to do or where to do it, like the left wing groups at these town halls that are going on.  You are not dependent on this university to teach you, you are asking for the university to teach you with your dollars.  You choose this university or another, you are not told to go this university. 

The key word here is that you are paying for your education.  The school is actually becoming more independent (and less State dependent or socialist) by not having as much State money make up their budget.  I would rather go to a school that taxpayers only pay a quarter or less of the budget than a school where the taxpayers 75-100% of the budget.  I don’t want to pay for your education as well as mine.  I do, because my property taxes and sales taxes see their way here somehow in the gluttony that is the State of Michigan’s spending.  (Thanks Jenny Granholm, can’t wait to have my money and job blown away, again.)

The point is a nine percent increase in tuition, while seemingly staggering in the context that it was shown in, is nothing compared to how rates increased at other universities early in this decade.  I will give you Michigan Tech for example.

Starting at Michigan Tech in the Fall of 2000, tuition for 18 credits in a semester was $2322 for lower division, in-state and barely over $2900 for upper division, also in-state.  By the spring of 2005 when I was graduating with a Chemical Engineering degree, my tuition in the upper division for 12 credits was $5647!  This does not include the large ‘engineering’ fees that were tacked on in fall 2003 that totaled over $1300.  You want to talk about an increase, how about 121% over 5 years?  Year after year of 13-18% increases.  Michigan Tech was no longer the super affordable institution it was, but it was still a better value over all the other engineering schools I looked at.

The university is still a great value, certainly more affordable than Michigan State or U of M, which I’m sure is Oakland University’s point.  Sure it’s not what it used to be, but I would rather be among “the almost three quarters of the budget” paying my share, than be a taxpayer paying for some other student’s education….oh, wait, almost forgot, I still do that too. 

I pay for quality education.  Education I am not getting right now because the professors refuse to teach.  I urge the professors to have their mediators to bargain for them as they come back to the classroom.   Teach me and the rest of the students at Oakland University who are eager to listen to what you have to say.  We want to learn the skills you understand so well.  This is what I and all the other students paid for.  Not signs on the street corner.

I understand the professors have families they need to support.  I understand everything that goes into running a household.  I have been doing the same myself for a few years now.  However, there’s one difference right now.  They are employed and refusing to work.  I have been job hunting since my layoff for nine months now without luck.  This is my Plan B to be a student here.  I work four side jobs to keep myself afloat and in my house with my lovely bride-to-be, whom is looking for a second job to help ease the financial struggle.  Please, sirs and madams, teach me and help my career advance and be jump started again.


Christopher Nesbitt

OU student