No longer am I getting my degree in political science and history, as I am switching my major to hunting. Finding a class that one can crash has become similar to stalking a rare animal and actually being able to obtain an add code is a byproduct of luck rather than skill. For instance, I arrived to class 10 minutes early and to my surprise discovered that students hoping to crash the class had already taken all the seats. By the time that class does begin, students fill the floor of the class and flood into the hallways all in an attempt to obtain a precious add code that will help us graduate and get our “degree.” However, with each progressing quarter the quality and prestige of our respective degree continues to erode, as the once prestigious UC system begins to go the way of General Motors — broke and undesirable.

While all UC students are now feeling the burden of higher fees, but receiving fewer services and classes to accompany this change, I ask myself: What will such a cut do to the California that I have grown to love? When Gov. Pat Brown’s vision of a UC system that would ultimately become the “envy of the world” came to fruition in the early 1960s, Californians felt blessed to have the ability to attend the best universities in the world at an incredibly discounted rate. As we UC students all know, the system that we have been blessed to be a part of is now under attack.

According to the opening line of the March 2003 study “California’s Future,”
“universities lie at the heart of successful, leading economies around the world.”  This could not be more true, as the study predicts that the UC system will contribute some $144 billion in gross state product, $54 billion in tax revenue, and account for 2.36 million jobs between 2003 and 2011. While the state faces an ever-increasing budget deficit, why would the state decide to cut spending to an institution that ultimately is responsible for billions in tax revenue?  The answer may be complex, but an obvious reason is that we are college students.  We do not vote in the large droves that the elderly do, and consequently our state representatives do not listen to our demands because our demands do not affect their viability for re-election.

Ironically, we are the future of this state and of the nation, and the constant cuts to the service that we need the most – education – only make us feel more isolated and less likely to participate in actions to create large-scale change. So when the adult population charges the youth as apathetic and narcissistic, I ask them to evaluate the decisions that they made which caused us to become like this.

I have never been so doubtful of state’s ability to make the proper decisions, and I feel that raising tuition and making college unaffordable will only have dire consequences for the future of my beloved state. When I reach the age of our current leaders, I do not want to talk about the once-glory days of California because I feel that this state has many more great years in store.  However, I feel the decision to maintain California’s prestige lies squarely in the hands of our legislators, and hopefully they renege on their prior decision and properly fund education. Please legislators, I plead to you, do not let our state end up like the once immaculate Detroit, the laughing stock of America.