My university recently had a referendum on whether or not we should expand our on-campus gym and student space. Of course, a “yes” majority vote would mean that an extra $150.00 or so would be added to everyone’s tuition, more depending on how many courses you take.
Only about 30% of the student population voted, about 70% on yes to the extra tuition fees and 30% no. The “yes”ers argued for the “greater good” of future students, about everyone paying more so the number who actually use the gym, like our great athletes and exercise lovers, would pay less. They said that it should benefit all students because if everyone exercised, we would be healthier, it would reduce our stress, and increase our overall happiness. They said we shouldn’t be concerned because the amount it adds to our debt is insignificant to the total amount of our existing debt – what’s an extra couple of $50s, eh?
Does any of this sound familiar yet?
I voted no, because I believe in genuine choice – the real greater good. I voted no because I believe that even an extra $1.00 in debt is significant, because when my parents came to Canada, $1.00 would buy them a bus ride to and from work for three days. I voted no because viewing an expanded gym as “the greater good” for future students is a ridiculous first world problem. I voted “no” because doing squats, sit-ups, and running are all free activities that you don’t need fancy machines to do, and if that offends your modern sensibilities, then you can damn well pay for such things yourself. I voted no because there isn’t even any such thing as “the greater good” because what is good for one individual may not be what is good for the next, peoples’ preferences and circumstances are different and unique, and it’s wrong that you should try to accommodate everyone in one stroke – it’s just not possible. I voted no because who are you to say that a few more pieces of gym equipment will be good for students arriving to the university in five years – what if there won’t be as many students arriving anyway because of these continuous extra fees, and the extra space becomes redundant? I voted no because I still believe in the art of fundraising, of petitioning private donors, of car washes and bake sales, which over the course of many years could actually amount to something we could use to fund student spaces. I voted no because there is absolutely no reason that anyone should be forced to pay for something they will not use just so they can go to a decent school, because that is not real charity and support, that’s more like extortion. Bottom line, students are paying for their education – everything else is just fluff.
Most of all, I voted no because I will continue to vote no, on-campus and off-campus, for anything that will create an unnecessary burden for anyone. And I will continue to rally all of my fellow colleagues to do the same.
See you in 2018, Liberal Party of Ontario. Or rather I won’t see you. Same diff.