Illustration by Kiri Rasmussen.
Illustration by Kiri Rasmussen.

To the students of the University of California, less really is more. Mid-year fee hikes raised UC tuition and lowered UC standards.

In the Arts and Humanities divisions, these budget cuts are plaguing students with a vengeance. This quarter, the number of studio art classes being offered is lower than ever before. Dozens of art majors are scrambling to crash very few courses, hoping for a lucky break.

Meanwhile, first- and second-year students may find themselves in a bind after discovering how scant the selection of general education classes is this quarter. The number of Writing II courses — a class required for graduation at UC Santa Cruz — available now is a fraction of 2009’s winter quarter statistics.

While the UC continues to raise costs, it persists in its failure to offer a sufficient number of courses for students. Instead of making required and frequently requested classes available, the university is impeding students’ graduation. It continues to promote its agenda by offering classes in the money-making departments.

Consequently, students are often unable to graduate on time; therefore, the price of higher education is ­— once again — amplified.

This juxtaposition between fee hikes and quality descent is unacceptable. Often, students majoring in art or psychology or film, and many other fields, have to crash several of their desired classes each quarter in order to fulfill prerequisite courses. This is the only way they can qualify for the upper-division classes necessary for completing any major.

For some, this enrollment limbo means living without financial aid for weeks at a time because the disbursement of financial aid is dependent upon full-time enrollment. Waiting to enroll until the quarter begins, and classes open up to crashers, may mean waiting to pay the electricity bill or eat a good meal.

The cost of the fee hikes is not just financial; they yield our equity. Here, you don’t get what you pay for — you pay for what you don’t get. The university advertises a curriculum widely unavailable to anyone who isn’t lucky enough to have the first enrollment pass.

Service, not compromise, is both required by and expected of institutions founded in accordance with the California Master Plan for Higher Education. This legislation was meant to create an equitable higher education system for all qualified students in California.

Instead, we find ourselves part of an educational system wrought with debt and decay. The UC is disintegrating. Every discontinued course, every professor, lecturer, student and worker forced to settle for less, made to abandon their home at a UC campus in search of a better, more affordable livelihood personifies the degradation of our university.


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