Greetings to all once again. Today, I do not find myself at the regular Starbucks I attend, but at my girlfriend’s house. I decided to take a break from hunting and slaying quacks, for a new topic that goes beyond the supernatural: college.
My face is a gun you believers; your argument is invalid.
As John Stossel has said, ” Want to go to college? It’s expensive.” indeed it is. However, the questions that are asked: is college truly affordable? Should you, your child, or anyone you know go to college? Let me explain why you should or should not go to college. Yes, I, the college student writing this blog is telling you about how college is a bad place and maybe you should think twice before going to one.
With this vision, the mission of the University is to promote excellence and engagement in teaching and learning, research and scholarship, creativity and artistry, and outreach and service.
In pursuing our vision and fulfilling our mission, the University values:
- A community of diverse people, ideas, services, and scholarly endeavors in a climate of respect for the intrinsic dignity of each individual
- Access for a broad spectrum of students to high quality undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs that prepare them to be lifelong learners and productive, socially conscious citizens
- Engaged teaching and learning that evolves from the synergy of research, artistry, and service
- Research and artistry in creating, transmitting, expanding, and applying knowledge
- Student success supported through academic and co-curricular programming and activities
- The application of current technology in enhancing and broadening all institutional endeavors
- A system of shared governance that incorporates input from faculty, staff, and students in decision- and policy-making
- Commitment to a public purpose addressing regional, state, national, and global challenges and opportunities
This mission statement is taken from my school’s official website. First of all, let’s try to interpret the statement and pick some points where it may not succeed as it claims. We will begin with the first: “A community of diverse people, ideas, services, and scholarly endeavors in a climate of respect for the intrinsic dignity of each individual”. The first goal of the mission statement is saying that NIU is a place of ideas, “diversity” (which I will argue why it falls flat), and why the whole “respect” is just nice word for “we censor your speech”. Yes my friends. Northern Illinois University, the college I attend, is abridging the first amendment. However, NIU is not only place where the censorship of the first amendment happens.
According to Foundations for Individual Rights in Education (or F.I.R.E for short), NIU has a red light ranking. What does this mean? It means that the first amendment is not being properly protected as it should. At a quick glance, some of the policies that are put in place are safe enough right? WRONG. One policy at NIU’s website states that you cannot use its network for political rallies, this includes college democrats, republicans, libertarians, green party etc. So if you are a very passionate college student when it comes to politics; forget it. You are a problem. Want to facebook your friend about how to vote? Nope. You can’t do it. You are violating policy. Furthermore, the policy also states that one cannot use the network for ” Sending or storing for retrieval patently harassing, intimidating, or abusive material”. Let that sink in for moment. What does that mean? Are crude words like bitch, faggot, jerk among them or maybe you talking against god is also offending. These rules are so vague anything harassing, intimidating, or abusive can mean anything!
Moving on, there is also a policy that mentions how NIU will crack down on discrimination. Sounds like good intentions right? WRONG AGAIN. Why is this policy bad you ask? It is good that one is not discriminated for their race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation. If you can do the job, do it. The issue arises when there are terminations that must be done for legitament reason. The problem with these policies that are not well written is that, if a person is terminated, he or she will try to use an excuse that it was a trivial issue and not for an actual reason. Take a look at this John Stossel clip.
Also, Penn & Teller’s: Bullshit!, episode about college, covers this topic of free speech and discrimination in a college setting very well.
It is understandable that being fired for being old, Catholic, Muslim etc. that there is a need to file a lawsuit, but what if I got fired at my job because I was a lousy worker and slacking and then I pulled a the race card? I would sue the hell out of the school or company, and the innocent souls of the school or company would pay for y compensation -I wouldn’t because suing hurts innocent people-. However, discrimination laws are a whole different topic and not so much what NIU’s policy is about. So we will move on to the next part of the “discrimination policy”.
Another part of the discrimination policy states that
The occasional improper comment and/or joke, generally, will not create such a hostile
environment and/or be indicative of racial discrimination unless such conduct is severe, pervasive, and/or occurs on a frequent basis.
Guess what folks? You can’t say “bad” words. How does this affect the learning environment? Let me show you with an anecdotal account where many of you might find yourselves in. In my English class, we were taking about Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, when the word “nigger” was brought up. According to the fineprint found in NIU’s handbook, we were violating the policy . Imagine if we were spending a whole week or two in that section; all of us and the professor would have been up for the biggest law suit ever. In addition to these rules, intellectual discussion is capped for one must abide by the rules that limit ideas, imagination, creativity, and discussion. Isn’t college a place where great minds discuss ideas? Not anymore. Even laws and rules like California’s yes means yes law, does not abridge free speech per se, but makes everyone a possible rapist. That means have your partner say yes; have their consent; sign papers; say yes; sign forms; fax them to your legal team; and then have sex. Yes, have sex after months of legal documentation. Guess California is a place I will not go for my sexual escapades anytime soon. Unfortunately for some students -and maybe even me-, I will not have any sexual activity for NIU has some iffy policies as well.
Examples of sexual harassment in employment or education include, but are not limited to, uninvited sexual comments or innuendo, oral, written, or electronic communications that are sexually explicit in nature or sexually explicit questions, jokes, or anecdotes about gender-specific traits.
Take a look at this older piece about free speech and college by John Stossel. If the video does not load properly, just click around 36:43
And this piece about “sexual harrasment” policies. If the video does not load properly, just click around 6:31
So don’t you dare offend anyone! Just be quiet! Furthermore, your free speech at NIU is limited to a certain area. Forget speaking in other places; your freespeech is here.
On the other hand, free speech is not the only problem with college: money and loans that are putting a lot of people in debt. Why does it happen? Shouldn’t college be more affordable? Shouldn’t the price go down and not up? It is a conundrum and a problem that fuels itself. Let’s take a look on why it is so expensive. According to www.finaid.org, tuition has gone up higher than inflation. Let’s take a look at a chart from 2005.
College is way more expensive than living!
But Octavio! look; it has gone down right? Wrong. There is a chart with general cost of college.
“Up isn’t a cut.” – John Stossel
But Octavio! You are using old information! This is old! You are just skewing the facts and taking it out of context. Okay, let’s use a more credible source: a government website. According to National Center for Education Statistics, the cost of college in 1981-1982 from went up from $2,871, in current dollars, to $16,789. If I did the math right, that is a 484.78 percent increase. However, why is this so? Why did the price increase by such a large number? According to this official government document,the Higher Education Act of 1965 was designed to help students in financial aid to achieve higher education. However, little did the law makers know, the act would have unintended consequences. Let’s take another look at National Center for Education Statistics’ site , from the period of 1964-1965, the cost of a higher education was $950. Logs from 1965-1966 show small increase from $950 to $983. Not a big change. However, the log from 1966–67 shows an increase from $983 to $1,026. What a bigger change from the original cost of college. Compare that cost to the cost of tuition from 1950-1959: $600, to the cost of $ 983 in 1966. Mind you this information is from an actual University: Penn State . The reason for increases like these are because of government subsidies in the form of loans and grants. However, let’s look at the rise of tuition of my own school.
Look at that beautiful rise and prediction.
Scary isn’t it? At least my tuition will not be as bad as my siblings,younger friends, mentees, my children, grandchildren, and future generations. Sucks to be them! What does this lead to? A lot of things: student debt, increased deficit, reckless spending by schools, and increased taxes. This will all be discussed in part 2 where we will see how along with how NIU spends its money; NIU’s enrollment rate and rentention rate; and the big question will be answered: is college worth it in the end? Until next time friends, for I will now hunt psychics, ghosts, quacks, frauds, the religious, and liars like Lockdown from Transformers: Age of Extinction.
To be continued…