With the recent resignation of President Rahmat Shoureshi and news that he will be paid a full salary with benefits through December, students recently got approved for a 10% tuition hike for the upcoming year.
“I’m not sure why I would keep going to PSU after this tuition hike–I can enroll in online classes easily now and there’s no reason I should stay local,” says one student. The limit of frustration is hitting a boiling point as protests continue on campus from last year when an legal-concealed carry holder, Jason Washington, an African-American was shot and killed on the Portland State campus while trying to break up a fight. When his firearm fell out of his clothing, he reached for it and police shot him at the scene. “No justice, no peace,” chants have been radiating from campus ever since.
The student loan dilemma is no stranger to anyone anymore with constant coverage on mainstream media. The predatory loan vibes are palpable and at this point when so many 20-somethings are approved for hundreds of thousands of dollars in some situations–with zero credit history. Student loan debt accounts for $1.5 trillion and the average graduate in 2017 owes over $28,000. But in a world where a Bachelor’s degree is the new high school diploma, it’s difficult to imagine bypassing higher education altogether. In class, while all the students are aware we are there voluntarily (and come and go with that in mind), we also know we have to be there. No matter what the attendance policy is. So the loans continue and we continue to be at the whims of higher education while the cycle continues. More loans, fewer jobs, higher debt. More money for those in charge.
“If you’re getting marked down, you’re turning in shit work,” says one professor. I’m not sure this is the attitude I would adopt if I was employed by the university at this time, but the frustration seems to be seeming into the staff. And understandably so–if my boss was getting fired and continuing to be paid while my job was on the line, I might be a little pissed too. I am in no way asking for sympathy for going to school and receiving an education, all I am asking for is to be treated like a human in the process of doing so.
I”m not asking for anyone to be lenient or to roll over in this plea; quite the opposite actually. I hope everyone in higher education, students and professors alike, will soon realize we are on the same team and are looking for success no matter the point-of-view. Our voice is louder together, not separate. Because what’s at risk of being lost–community, the pursuit of being better than we are now–is not worth getting marked down on APA citations. The students deserve better, society deserves better, and the city of Portland definitely deserves better.