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OPINION

Students Spoiled Stupid

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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Are you watching what is happening on college campuses today and shaking your head in disbelief? As a white UCLA graduate, I’m disappointed by the request for special segregated areas for black students. The Afrikan Student Union is insisting upon an “Afrikan Diaspora floor” as well as an “Afro-house.” TheDemands.org lists demands from many colleges, but at UCLA they assert, “Black students lack spaces where they feel safe and comfortable. The Afrikan Diaspora floor is a way for us to connect more to other Black students, the Afrikan Student Union, and the Afro-Am department. The floor should be branded as a safe space for all Black students.” Is segregation now to be praised?  

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Not wanting to make things “safe” for dissenting white students and professors, The Washington Times reports that students at Evergreen State College, a Washington liberal arts school, harassed Biology Prof. Bret Weinstein because he refused to leave campus for the annual “Day of Absence.” In past years, nonwhite students and faculty would leave campus and whites would stay to participate in anti-racism workshops and seminars. But this year, it was reversed, the whites were asked to leave, but Weinstein, who describes himself as “deeply progressive”, refused to comply to this “act of oppression.” He argued in his formal letter to the diversity official on campus, “On a college campus, one’s right to speak – or to be – must never be based on skin color.” Black protesters wanted no “safe space” for Professor Weinstein; they wanted the professor fired.

Beyond safe spaces, Harvard students want protection from the natural consequences from not returning library books on time. In response to the high stress these bright students experience from late fees, Harvard University Library has announced there are no longer late fees for students. Does shielding students from natural consequences prepare them for life? Only an irresponsible life! These students don’t just want safe spaces; they want protection from their own choices. These fragile students seem incapable of handling the freedoms they demonstrate for.  

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What’s worse is that our tax dollars are paying for this stupidity. Politicians we elected thought that by making more student loans available more students would secure a quality education. But making more funds available has just increased the cost of education for everyone. Colleges and universities didn’t keep their costs the same; higher demand justifies higher prices. That translates into higher costs for every student and the necessity of more student debt for those lacking family support.  

You think healthcare is expensive? The U.S. Census Bureau reports that between 1982 and 2011, the Consumer Price Index went up 125 percent, healthcare costs went up 300 percent, and college tuition and fees went up 570 percent. Who benefits? The college and university endowment funds!

According to The Student Loan Report, there are over 44 million current student loan borrowers collectively contributing to a national student loan debt of $1.41 trillion. That translates into an average student debt of an intimidating $27,857.

What’s worse is that a LendEDU survey of 500 current college students found that 49.8 percent of America's entitled youth are convinced that the federal government will simply forgive their student loans upon graduation. They are in for a surprise. They may forgive the few that go into select public service jobs, but not half of graduating students. And remember, if they can’t handle late fees on library books, these graduates are in for some heavy stress!

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This mistaken belief of forgiven loans may help explain why so many take more years to graduate or take on majors that won’t provide an income capable of paying off their loans. When students finally wake up to the fact that their degree does not translate into welling-paying jobs, they are left with a debt that is hard to pay off. If they can’t, it’s the taxpayers who do. 

Like any loan, students should have to justify their loan on the basis of their ability to pay it back. Does their major justify the amount they request? What is the average salary of graduates with their degree? In fact, America would be wise to offer more loans to trade school applicants. Training and apprenticeships that prepare and certify students to be plumbers and other needed trades would be a better investment for many young people. 

America needs to wake up to the fact that we are graduating far too many students who are not prepared to succeed. And we’re not doing them a favor by giving them easy money that is hard to repay.

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