Opinions

Intersections of Social and Economic Justice

Eastern has once again raised tuition. In the past five years, the cost of going to Eastern has increased by almost $10,000. But “these changes are relatively modest,” and “As the parent of college students myself, I know how much sacrifice and effort families make,” says President Duffett. It is the epitome of privilege for persons of institutions to ignore the cries of the marginalized in their communities–whether the indebted, the queer, the person of color, the disabled, among others.

Tuition increases do not help students stay in school, or make us calmer by any stretch of the imagination. Some of us are paying for school on our own. We work while taking classes, and the more those classes cost, the more we have to work, and thus, the less time we have to dedicate to our studies. Eastern’s continual disregard for the student body and increasing national debt remains consistent with a tradition of ignoring the oppressed until they can no longer and are forced to repent of their egregious sins against humanity.

But of course as we will see, “our rates for the upcoming academic year are lower than the costs for attending most of our benchmark institutions”–institutions that are not only just as increasingly unaffordable as Eastern, but also provide better and healthier programs. Raising the cost of Eastern places it in an increasingly harder position to remain a healthy, thriving learning environment for all students.

Raising the tuition, moreover, certainly will not help fill all of the housing we have (which we’re planning on expanding!). In the long run that “$1 million more” we will allegedly earn as college graduates turns out to be pretty miniscule as our debts increase “modestly” every year. At what point does raising tuition become immodest?

People like to say that getting a bachelor(ette)’s degree is like gold in society. But many of us aren’t going to have an easy time finding a job that will be sufficient enough to pay off these increasing loans. Many of us will have a hard time getting a job anywhere–even if we are qualified. Realities of social injustice are never abstracted from one another and that makes things harder for all of us. Eastern fosters an environment in a way that such raises reflect a blatant disregard or ignorance of the traumas many of us are put through because the university cannot decide what “justice” entails.

Our debt is increasing. And there can be no social justice without economic justice. Many of us, despite having a bachelor(ette)’s degree, still have a trajectory towards poverty because of how society is structured against us. Those sacrifices and efforts we make to get a quality education cost us far more than a $2,000 increase every year. Every time Eastern raises tuition, I acquire more reasons to leave, just as, I imagine, many others. But I stay for the real solidarity, I stay for the tangible moments of love that pop up.

I stay in hopes of real justice manifesting in our very community–economically, socially, and spiritually.

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