The past couple of weeks have been filled with talk of raising fees in an attempt to mitigate some of the damage from the budget cuts our campus is faced with. There are talks of raising of student fees by 32 percent. On top of this, the College of Letters and Science is implementing a $2.50 per unit fee. Yet, as I look around campus, I can’t help but notice the absence of a number of incredible services. Counseling & Career Services is faced with an insufficient number of counselors to address their ever-increasing demand of student needs, the Disabled Students Program is being cut, leaving our campus increasingly inaccessible, CLAS is unable to fund the number of tutors and skill sessions to meet the needs of our learning needs, the library’s ability to meet our needs for new research publications is compromised and the Exercise and Sports Studies Department is in jeopardy.
Our campus is being torn limb from limb as administrators make the difficult decisions on how to implement the disastrous budget cuts that have plagued our campus. Our administration is fighting to save the fundamental items that preserve the mission of UCSB. We are no longer trimming away excess here at UCSB; we are cutting into the marrow. It is with this in mind that I raise the following issue.
As students, we should be the most concerned with these budget cuts. These cuts not only impact our current lives, but will continue to dictate our lives well into our futures. These cuts will impact the value of our degrees, the jobs we are able to obtain and the ability we have to pursue further education. Yet, with all of this on the line, we as students still seem to be frivolous with how we choose to spend available funding. We choose to annually blow nearly one million dollars on a single weekend of debauchery.
Halloween at this campus is something we can no longer sustain with our budget crisis. We can no longer afford to staff 250+ sworn deputies and the monstrous administrative support staff they require to operate during Halloween. We can no longer afford to call for mutual aid from other UCPD departments. We can no longer afford for staff, faculty and administrators to spend their limited work days trying to address this holiday. We can no longer afford this event. Yet, we selfishly choose to force administrators to make costly cuts to other areas to compensate for mandated public safety needs. We selfishly choose to make others pay for our choices.
The next time you are on campus and realize that something you cherish has been cut, remember: The funding to help save these things exists. The means to save student services, the library and the ESS department exists; the only problem is that we as students have made the decision to spend that money elsewhere. We as students have made the conscious decision to spend that funding elsewhere. We have decided. Now we are left with the bitter consequences of our decisions. Is this really the way we want to be remembered? Do we as students want to only be remembered as a group that frivolously spent? Or, will we join together and fight for our campus? I don’t know about you, but I’m putting my costume away and grabbing my picket sign.