Letters to the Editor 11-15-2011
Published: Monday, November 14, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, November 15, 2011 00:11
In response to the Nov. 14 editorial "Occupy USF is flawed, misguided":
I don't speak for the general assembly of the Occupy USF movement, but our primary goal is to initiate an intellectual discussion on campus so that we can discuss ways to solve the glaring problems we see in society.
Yes, USF's tuition is one of the lowest in the country. And yes, we know that the main reason for tuition hikes at USF has to do with budget cuts from Gov. Rick Scott. However, what we see is a corporatization of the universities across our nation.
In countries throughout Latin America and Europe, higher education is seen as a right and not a privilege. Without financial aid and being from an upper-class family, there is no way that I could have afforded college. Tuition at USF is still very low, but they are implementing a 15 percent tuition hike, are no longer providing graduate students with subsidized loans and are no longer going to subsidize Graduate Assistants Health Insurance starting next year.
Students across the country are graduating with mounds of debt and finding that the jobs that they were promised aren't there. Roughly 24 million people are out of work, one in six people are in poverty, corporations are sitting on billion-dollar profits but aren't hiring and CEO wages and salaries have increased by 300 percent since 1990. In the first decade of this century, working-age households saw their real income decline.
The U.S is ranked No. 93 in income equality in the world — Iran is No. 90, China No. 80 — and the Congressional Budget Office predicts that, by next year, student loan debt will reach the $1 trillion mark and, for the first time ever, pass credit card debt in amount owed.
You might not agree with our methods, but we are an inclusive group that welcomes anyone who is willing to have a rational discussion on solving the problems we see in society.
Do we want to be the generation that camps out for the iPhone 4 and Black Friday? The generation that cares and knows more about "Dancing with the Stars" and "Jersey Shore" than our current economic crisis? This is our generation's opportunity to have a voice and to participate in our nation's democracy.
The Occupy movement has already accomplished the goal of changing the conversation, and if that is all it accomplishes, it might be due to media sources such as The Oracle that, instead of using journalism to search for corruption and promote just causes, use its platform to marginalize and demonize movements it disagrees with.
Michael Blosser is a graduate student studying applied physics.