I’ve been browsing through the Inside Higher Ed website and came across a discussion of how student fees are allocated. Students are complaining that their fees are supporting groups they don’t agree with, and want to opt out. Here’s the full article here.
It references a 2000 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Board of Regents of U. of Wisconsin v. Southworth about mandatory student fees. Basically boiled down, a college or university can require fees be collected for student activities, but those which do so must provide a means by which students’ rights regarding Freedom of Speech are protected so that they can opt not to have their money go to certain causes or groups.
Okay, hold on a second here. Once your money goes to the student government fees, then your money is no longer specifically yours, it belongs to the student government. Since the payment of the student government fees entitles the students to a vote, they are therefore given a means by which they can directly impact the decisionmaking process of which campus groups get student recognition and funding and which groups do not. They already -have- a means by which the fees can be appropriated in accordance with their wishes. If they lobby in the student government and they get overruled, well them’s the breaks. The president of the US doesn’t get a line-item veto, why should a college student regarding their SGA fees?
Shoddy defense lawyership, really.
I mean, that’s like me saying that I want to ensure that my federal taxes don’t go to any state which teaches Intelligent Design or denies the fundamental scientific basis of evolution in any way. So none of -my- tax dollars go to certain Kansas school districts. Period.
How do you enforce that? You don’t. The penalty for playing by democratic rules is that you can and do frequently get outvoted. And then you have to put up with the indignity of it and try to make a comeback however you can. This is the way that democracy works. We don’t get to hold our breath and stamp our feet and pout until the US Government pats us on the head and tells us that it’s all okay, we’re allowed to line-item veto how our government appropriates our personal cash contribution.
But hey! I’m totally up for that. Give me a website along with my taxes where I can decide, similar to a 401(k) management website, where I want my tax money to go.
I can’t. We can’t. Why not? Because we already -do- decide where the money goes. Through *representation*. If the universities involved decided themselves how to spend the money, that would be one thing. But in SUNY, the money collected for student activity fees gets turned over to the budgets of the SGA. If *that* representative student group wishes to exercise its discretionary spending powers to fund groups which are of controversial nature, then let the student government representatives be held accountable for their votes in the next year’s elections, the same way that the US elected representatives are.
I firmly believe we are moving closer and closer to a Paedarchy… government by children.