Monday, September 3, 2012
Commentary: UNT “stole” $300 from students
One UNT grad student is fed up with bogus fees.
DENTON I will be blunt: UNT has stolen almost $300 from me this semester.
I have been forced to pay for programs from which I do not and cannot benefit. I am forced to pay for the History Help Center, despite the fact that as a graduate student, I cannot benefit from its services. I am forced to pay for transportation services that cannot benefit me because of where I live. I am forced to pay for a sports program that is not mentioned in the state charter to the university, is not included in the school’s mission statement, and has absolutely no bearing on my degree.
I certainly don’t believe that sports should be eliminated – some people clearly enjoy these events – but those with no interest should not be obligated to pay for them. I have no objection to paying for services I receive or even for those that I may only potentially receive, but I object to being forced into purchasing services that I will not benefit from and hold no interest for.
As students, we receive no freedom of choice when it comes to these fees – in fact, we are brushed aside if we even question them. I have asked for answers three times this semester, and each time I have received non sequiturs and platitudes instead of an explanation.
Those who criticize me for my beliefs say these fees were approved by the Student Government Association, a fact that might be valid if that body held any actual power. These critics say I should go to school elsewhere. One individual on Facebook claimed that no one would care about UNT without its sports program, and that I lack pride in my school.
I question why anyone would go to a school exclusively for its sports program, no matter how well-funded and successful, if their genuine interest was in an academic degree. I also question those who completely ignore award-winning history, literature, music, physics, and other academic programs that actually contribute to the school’s stated purpose: becoming a top-tier research institution. Unless you’re an athlete, going to a school solely for its athletics program defeats the purpose of a higher education.
I do not seriously expect to be reimbursed the $300 that UNT stole from me. My goal is instead to get people talking about these problems, and to demand answers from the school’s administration. The protest era may be over, but with the action and organization of a concerned student body, a new era of accountability can begin.
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