I used to live in Los Angeles not too far from Santa Monica City College. As you might have heard, they're going to have a two-tiered tuition system/course structure and this is making many students irate. The cost to enroll in some courses (which happen to be the more desirable ones) offered at SMCC will be about $180. This is much more expensive than classes have been: $35 per unit for in-state tuition. On the one hand, I can understand that taking a college course for less than $200 doesn't sound like that bad of a deal. On the other hand, if you think about the increase in terms of a percentage, this is quite a hike! One might add that many of the people attending SMCC are from low-income families, first-generation college students, etc. Such an increase will prove to be prohibitive to many students.
Protestors gathered during a recent SMCC Board of Trustees meeting--about thirty of them were pepper-sprayed by campus police. This is disturbing and not the first time that protestors have been hurt recently. I wonder what readers think about students gathering at such meetings and what (especially my students in Philosophy and Public Issues) think about the act of protesting and how authorities should handle protestors.
This issue aside..... I want to mention that the administration at Pitt has encouraged students, faculty, and staff to write letters to politicians, attend events in Harrisburg, etc. in response to recent proposed cuts in the state appropriations to the Pitt system. If these cuts get passed, we will have over 100 million dollars in cuts over the last two years! I hope you impress upon your friends and families how important it is to participate in these efforts. And, of course, I hope you write letters and do what you can to counteract this assault on higher education.