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Letters to the Editor: November 15, 2011

thedmopinion@gmail.com

 

To the Editor: 

 

If the proponents of the Green Fund have their way, tuition costs will increase nearly $400,000 per year (16,000 students X $12 X 2 semesters)… but they promise that the Green Fund will save us money? Something doesn’t smell right here.

First, I haven’t seen any concrete plans regarding what exactly the Green Funders want to do with the Green Fund other than use it toward “energy efficiency” and “reducing the campus’s carbon footprint.” Are we about to let an organization charge $400,000 a year from students without first telling us exactly how they are going to spend it?

Second, it is absurd to claim that we have to pay money to save money; yet that is the claim the Green Funders are making. According to the Energy Management Policy, the campus Physical Plant already replaces incandescent lights with fluorescent and LED bulbs, it controls building temperature for maximum efficiency, it encourages the use of natural sunlight, etc. So how, exactly, is the Green Fund going to save us money?

Third, I’m not fooled by the “low cost” of the Green Fund. Fees always increase and never decrease; look at parking decals, for example. If you further consider the diminishing returns of efficiency, the cost to make the campus ever-greener will increase exponentially. 

Sure, changing light bulbs is cheap, but what then? Multi-million dollar solar panel systems? Carbon offset forests?

The Green Fund is popular because it makes students feel warm and progressive inside for only 12 bucks a semester. But let’s get real. 

The Obama Administration just sunk over half a billion dollars into a failing solar energy company because they wanted to feel warm and progressive inside. We can’t charge students nearly half a million dollars a year to make them feel good about themselves. We already have recycling and transit programs that costs student’s money. 

The Physical Plant is already maximizing energy efficiency on campus. Tuition is already rising at unprecedented rates. How much more money do struggling students need to sacrifice to satisfy the green movement?

 

Kurt Smith

Graduate Student in Modern Languages

 

 

To the Editor:

 

I would like to respond to Taylor McGraw’s criticism of Trenton Winford’s column “College isn’t for everyone.” Let me start by saying that I understand Taylor’s disagreement with the above column in that Trenton strikes an elitist, condescending tone at times.  

Nonetheless, I think the column’s general gist is correct.  

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2008 only 57.2 percent of students who enroll in four-year institutions will actually graduate. Evidently college is not for everyone.  

I am describing the world as it is, not as I wish it was.  The point here is not that 42.8 percent of college enrollees are simply incapable of getting degrees, as Trenton suggests; rather, a variety of factors including monetary concerns, educational background, family situation, and work ethic prevent a large percentage of college students from graduating. 

I in no way mean to tell anyone that they should not be a college student, to use Trenton’s verbiage.  But perhaps some aspiring college students should at least consider enrolling in technical schools or trade programs after high school.  After all a June 2009 Brookings Institute paper reveals that in the near future the share of the labor force with a bachelor’s will be 36 percent while 48 percent of jobs will be available for those with more than a high school degree but less than a bachelor’s.  

My goal in this letter was to support the view that college is not for everyone and to suggest that college aspirants should at least consider alternative paths.  

Taylor, my criticism of your letter is that facts and realism are generally better guides to action than dreams and nice sentiments.  

 

With Respect, 

 

John Montgomery, Senior 

Public Policy Leadership and Philosophy major

Not the future center for the L.A. Lakers.