The Santa Clara
May 4, 2017
This is not a commentary or an opinion piece. This is a call to action.
Santa Clara students were met with an unpleasant surprise when we opened our emails on April 6. An email from the Office of Finance and Administration stated that undergraduate tuition and housing fees would be raised by 4.5 percent and 3.75 percent respectively, for the 2017-2018 academic year.
Those numbers amount to a tuition of $49,858 and an average housing fee of $16,185. The average total tuition at Santa Clara this upcoming fall will be $66,043.
Did you, like me, have frantic thoughts about whether or not you could get approved for more loans to finish school? Did you call your family to discuss your options? Did you question whether you could take up more minimum-wage work and still have time for school? Did you think about leaving Santa Clara? I did. The tuition increase poses a major financial burden to students like me but, instead of sitting around and letting this jeopardize my education, I decided that I needed to do something about these tuition hikes.
The weekend after reading that email, I created the Petition for Reduced Tuition and Housing Fees. My attempts at getting authorization to table at Benson showed me that formal processes, with their bureaucracy and restrictions and formalities, were too slow to fit the urgency of this cause.
After being told to move my petitioning off of the Benson patio, I moved to just outside the Benson stairs. Realizing that I needed to grab people’s attention, I threw on my handy chicken suit from last Halloween and got to work, using the humor of puns and dance moves to bring attention to this very serious situation.
The goal is to meet with the Santa Clara administration to figure out what cost-saving solutions students, and the administration, can do instead of increasing tuition and housing fees.
The solution is not a one-way street: students can take small actions to reduce fees in conjunction with the administration’s measures. Examples include smarter usage of resources (how much do you think it costs for thousands of students to have their air-conditioning on all night?) and the elimination of events or programs that are barely attended. This is just a brief sampling of the changes students can make.
With the strong alumni connections, million-dollar donations and an already sizable tuition, there also has to be changes Santa Clara can make on the administrative side as well.
With hours of petitioning in a chicken suit and help from a team of like-minded people, I collected 225 signatures and counting on the petition. After having camped out in front of the administration office in a protest, we will be getting a meeting with the VP of Finance, Chris Shay, on May 16. I cannot disclose proposal details right now, but I will say this: I know there are many of you here who want to see the fees decreased. Join the movement and join me in creating our solutions.
The petition is now at a crossroads. I have taken it this far but to get to the next level, the community needs to join together around the cause. I need action, not merely words of support. Here are the ways you can help:
1) #eduforless: Show this hashtag loud and proud. It can be our calling card.
2) Prioritize: Before we even entertain frivolous expenses like on-campus alcohol, let us focus our efforts on the urgent priority of being able to afford our education.
3) Contact me: This movement needs to be bigger than one person or separated groups. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or if you have suggestions on what other actions we can take together.
4) Take the survey: I am creating a survey about events and services at Santa Clara, and will be circulating it soon. If more than 1,000 students can make time for a survey about on-campus alcohol, then students can make time for the survey I will send out.
Stuck in my mind is a remark one student made about why she doesn’t care about the tuition increase: “It’s not my money.” This movement is for those of us who work hard for the opportunity to be a Bronco, not for the over-privileged who take their education for granted. It is crucial that we let the administration know we are not going to stand by and accept these threats to our hard-earned education.
Back up your words with action. Be the change that you want to see.
Rosino LeGan is a junior communication major.
Articles in the Opinion section represent the views of the individual authors only and not the views of The Santa Clara or Santa Clara University.