I've been waiting for a chance to post a blog entry about Tuesday night's Haden Family & Friends show at Walt Disney Hall in downtown L.A., but I've been so busy I haven't had any free time!
Now I have a moment to write about what a great experience it was but before I do so I just wanted to make a brief comment about the student fee hike imposed by the UC board of regents today.
As a UC alma mater I'm particularly concerned about it because every year around this time I'm hit up for money by some UC student telling me UC is broke and needs all the help it can get. How can they expect me to want to donate money when they're raising student fees? They should be lowering fees and showing that they are serious about giving every Californian a chance for an education.
As recounted by this L.A. Times article, UC President Mark G. Yudof said, regarding the fee hike, "I hate to say it, but if you have no choice, you have no choice." The article went on to say Yudof "empathized with student anger, but said it would be better directed toward state lawmakers who have cut education funding."
Correct me if I'm wrong, but if President Yudof is saying he has such "empathy" with students, why doesn't Yudof himself take his own advice, march up to Sacramento and tell Gov. Schwarzenegger how angry he is? Why doesn't he not support fee hikes? Or better yet, why doesn't he cut his own salary to show students he too is willing to make sacrifices for higher education, or, even better, call a general student strike until this situation is remedied?
I'd like to say a couple of things about the convenience of this fee hike. First of all, higher fees means more money in President Yudof's pockets. Secondly, higher fees means more money to be made by the student loan companies that are in cahoots with UC, and have been ever since student loan companies were invented.
On the front page of this morning's aforesaid L.A. Times is a photograph of students protesting the fee hikes. One student holds a sign that reads "California...#1 in Prison Spending[,] #48 in Education." And this to me is the crux of the matter. A financial crisis gives certain lawmakers excuses to cut education funding while letting the root causes of poverty and crime continue. As long as people are uneducated, crime will continue to rise, prisons will continue to be overcrowded, more money will have to be spent on police and law enforcement, and conservative politicians (due to the uneducated citizenry) will continue to be elected, allowing the cycle to continue ad infinitum. When will it stop?