Counterpoint: Don't Pay Protesters
Should Student Funds Pay Occupiers' Debt?
Monday, May 3rd, 2010
We need to decide something fundamental about these governing bodies and their use of funds. From my understanding, the LSU and USS try to fund proposals that benefit a majority of students. I want to make it clear that I grasp the argument that if we support this proposal, then we're supporting the right for students to assemble and that this could benefit a larger group of students with that line of thinking. However, it would also make the use of those funds inherently political. If this proposal is inherently political and we're using student funds ($10 out of every student's tuition) then it is a decision that should be made by the entire student body. And I'm sure a majority of the student body did not support this occupation.
More simply, though, students have the right to assemble. We're able to protest and this was proved by the more successful demonstration of this right in December 2008. The problem with the April 10 occupation wasn't the students protesting, but rather that it was done on private property. I understand the counter-argument of 65 Fifth Avenue being a student space and that those particular students were demonstrating their right to be there, but it was after hours and the place was broken into.
That being said, we still need to figure out what the purpose of those funds is. Is the purpose to provide students with equal access to justice? Because then we get into a gray area. Is it more important to our student body for these particular students in this situation to be funded, or do we want to use funds to benefit a larger group of students--for instance, providing graduating seniors with free caps and gowns?
I want a clear decision to be made. If the purpose of these funds is clear, then we can make a decision about how to use them. If we want to fund a small group of students' legal needs because we as a student body believe that it is important, then we should do it (granted, those funds would still go into private bank accounts and used for private needs). But if we as a student body did not support this occupation and do not support the political use of these funds, then we shouldn't fund it. Let's make a clear and concise decision about how to spend our money.
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