Don’t want tuition raised? Do something about it!

After this last legislative session, I have sadly come to the conclusion that U students are weak.

For the past 45 days, 104 legislators made decisions that drastically affect the way our campus of almost 30,000 students operates and is run. The U sat back and watched as the Legislature, yet again, forced the Board of Regents to raise tuition at the U-possibly by as much as 7 percent.

Higher-education officials had asked for a $10 million increase but were scorned by the Legislature. As a result, our tuition will continue to increase.

Over the past six years, the U has been forced to raise tuition by almost 50 percent. What is the response of U students? You would think that a 50-percent increase would instigate outrage.

No. Instead, you see only a few U students marching to protest-not tuition increases, but the funding of an unnecessary sports complex.

What is our problem? In 1999, when Mexican officials decided to raise tuition at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, hundreds of thousands of students took over the campus and literally shut down the university. Students held strikes and barricaded classes and buildings for more than nine months. The leaders of the student government and student groups led the strikes.

Mexican students understood that education is a right and that affordable tuition relative to income levels is vital if all people are going to be able to afford education.

I remember during the Associated Students of the University of Utah elections last year, I saw then-candidate Ali Hasnain talking with students in front of the library. A student asked him if he had a plan to stop tuition increases.

I remember hearing him say that he had a great plan and that he would do all he can to stop tuition hikes.

Now it’s a year later, and he’s president of ASUU. The only thing I ever read about Hasnain-or any other ASUU official-doing at the Legislature was lobbying for the aforementioned student recreation center.

Why is it that our leaders never do anything about tuition increases? It takes much more than simply asking the board of regents to increase funding for the U.

If Hasnain or the current set of candidates is wondering what we can do to stop tuition increases and get the Legislature to care about our university-look to Mexico. Organizing the student body to protest tuition increases is the only way for us to tell the Legislature that we really do care.

This needs to come from the student body president-not from the ASUU Government Relations Board or any other student group.

We can cry, write newspaper editorials and call legislators all day-and it doesn’t work. Talk means nothing unless we act out. Our brothers and sisters in Mexico have shown us the way and should be examples for us.

The Legislature doesn’t respect U students-and because we don’t act on our beliefs, neither do I.

If you believe tuition ought to be an affordable investment and that higher education should be available to all, then talk to those people who are running for ASUU office, and let’s get organized.

It’s your future.