In defense of Dr. Kim—what OurColumbia isn’t telling students

By Letter to the Editor, by Matt Coyle

It is no secret the campus has become high strung. Last year with the part-time faculty negotiations and now with the evolving faculty as a whole getting in on it, things look pretty grim on paper. What students aren’t seeing is that OurColumbia is a vocal few who do not have a leg to stand on.

OurColumbia’s demands are ludicrous. The words they use are written specifically to instigate students’ emotions and to get them fired up about the spot where it will affect them: their wallets. “We demand an immediate freeze on student tuition and fees and a transparent budget including administrative salaries.”

Sure, I will give you the transparent budget. A document uploaded on the website would be a nice touch; however, salary is common knowledge. The Chronicle reported the 2014-2015 fiscal findings from [the college’s] 990 IRS Form a little over two years ago. If a student reporter can find it, why can’t a teacher? Tuition freezes are out of the question as well. It’s part of our societal agreement with currency. Until the federal government can regulate it more evenly, inflation will continue to rise, and so will the cost of living.

As you all are aware, the student center is being built. This money was accumulated by the use of capital funds. Capital funds can only be spent on capital. This money can only be used to purchase land or future assets, such as buildings or building renovations. While some of the buildings are historical landmarks and cannot be upgraded or altered, some are in need of repair. Some departments, especially the underfunded ones that only have a floor of a building rather than an entire eight-story building, need money as well. I do not deny that.

But the student center is the future of this campus and will be utilized in so many different capacities. This project was started by a donor who wrote the school a check for a couple million [dollars], and while that is pocket change to [the college], that money can only be spent on what the check said it can be spent on. It’s not a GoFundMe account.

The faculty simply does not care about you when it comes to negotiations. Helping you make connections is something they obviously do because it is their job, and if you’re fortunate enough to find a nice faculty member, you will gain a mutual friendship. However, using one student’s decisions to blame a man who had literally nothing to do with alleged sexism is toxic and frankly disgusting. Teachers shouldn’t be using students’ [stories] to further their agenda because they simply are only in it for the contract and not for students.

As president of a Student Life Advisory Board section, I wrote a press release with my colleagues around this time last year that stated our support for the students over this issue. I cannot sit by and watch them blatantly be taken advantage of by C-Fac using fear tactics. Take the time to actually talk to administration. Yes, they wear suits, but Dr. Kim’s administration shows plenty of diversity and understanding. I regret my previous endorsement for OurColumbia, and I wish it would stop using students as pawns in its chess game.

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