Guest opinion: Nazir Sayed

Editor’s note: UC President Mark Yudof sent an e-mail to all University of California students and parents last week, providing an update on student fees and the UC’s budget situation as a whole. This is an open letter to Yudof in response.

I, as well as many of my peers, do appreciate the e-mail detailing the situation. We understand the dire situation in California at the current moment. May God help California through this difficult time and reinstate it into a beacon of hope for many around the world. We understand that we are not the only ones suffering from the present economic difficulties. There are too many people without jobs, too many people losing their homes, and too many businesses barely getting by – if not going out of business entirely.

But, with all respect, being a person with such a background in education, shouldn’t you be the first one denouncing a fee increase to students?

Raising the fees on education is a fundamental mistake that will cost us much more money in the long run than the short-term benefits create. The graduates of tomorrow are perhaps the ones that will prevent situations like this in the future. Taxing them is to take two steps back in the ideology that distinguishes the UC system.

I strongly believe that the economic problems can be solved without taking the easy way out. We in the UC system should always support affordable education so that leaders of tomorrow can learn to lead today.

As president of our great UC system, I humbly request that you urge our state government and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to tax the oil drillers that have been getting a free ride in California for years before you take more money from us. I did some calculations and found that by taxing oil companies that are using California at no real benefit for California, we would have enough money to cover the UC budget shortfall – and have enough left over for every UC student to take a vacation to Hawaii. Twenty-one of the other 22 oil-producing states successfully tax these oil companies; that tax revenue then supports their state schools. Oil companies will have to pay the tax. If they refuse, there are many other companies that will be happy to buy oil from us.

I wish you luck in governing our great educational system here in California. Please do all you can for us, the students. And I was joking about the Hawaii thing, though we can talk about that later.

NAZIR SAYED

Junior, Economics

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