Common Sense: Five questions for last week’s student protesters

Harrison Leonard

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Harrison Leonard
Contributing Columnist

1. What did you hope to achieve by disrupting classes, blocking traffic, and being distractingly obnoxious? Can you think of any example in recent history where student protests prompted government to do anything, other than arrest law-breakers? I support your right to non-violent expression; despite how pathetic I found last week’s walkouts. But I would challenge you for next time that the most effective form of dissent is rooted in reason and rational persuasion, not primitive barbarism.

2. Are you aware that when state-funded schools like CSUN are allocated money to run properly, and people don’t attend, they do so at a cost to the school and the state? Your demonstrations on Thursday cost CSUN money, and will probably be factored into your tuition next year. Even if the differential is small, the principle remains the same: you helped to hike your own tuition by protesting tuition hikes. Well done.

3. Do you understand that actions have consequences? How many of you complaining about budget cuts also voted to enact those state ballot propositions in 2008, which cost California taxpayers over $13 billion? Think, please. If you vote to increase funding in one area, funding needs to be cut elsewhere. Do you want change you can believe in? Elect out the irresponsible Democrat supermajority in our state assembly that got us into this mess. They “pay” for programs we cannot seriously afford by disguising spending increases in the form of bond initiatives, which we will never realistically pay down. They tell the people they can have everything they want, when they want it, and leave the credit card bill to younger generations. But I suspect these are the same politicians that many of you continually reelect out of inertia.

4. I have talked to countless CSUN students who complain they can’t get classes, and blame it on the budget crisis. But when I ask, “Did you try this Saturday class, or this night class, or this class that sounds awful but fulfills the credit you need?” they say, “But I don’t want to come here on a Saturday!” I’m sure some students will always be squeezed out of classes they require, but I’d bet a significant number of people could find classes if they truly needed them. There is a difference between want and necessity. Don’t blame your problems of preference on the budget mess.

5. I saw signs on Thursday that read: “Education Is A Human Right.” Is education really your right? Most industries have a consumer (i.e., you) and someone providing goods for the consumer (i.e., a teacher or doctor). Saying you have a right to education implies you have a right to the labor of another person. Do you really believe that you ever have a right to the labor of someone other than yourself? I can think of 41.1 million black Americans whose ancestors would beg to differ.