It goes without saying that our capitalist-money hungry-debt factory of an education system is enraging to me and anyone else who wasn’t born in a mansion or birthed from a golden vagina.
Ohio University students and Student Union members Megan Marzec, Ellie Hamrick, Eden Almasude, and Jessica Linder decided to stand up in the face of educational injustice earlier this month by protesting at Trustee meeting and in turn, the four became the voice of thousands of their exploited young peers. They were arrested for publicly opposing a proposed 1.6 percent tuition hike (“a blatant act of direct upward redistribution of wealth,” according to Marzec), an increase in room-and-board prices and medical school tuition, and by calling on their university to freeze all employee salaries over $100,000. Defiance, Ohio indeed.*
Their efforts have since attracted coverage from media outlets like The Nation, but more needs to be said about those who go against the grain. In a university setting where most are seemingly more focused on partying than academics, or the balance of the two worlds, it is a rarity to have people decide that their pending debt is important than that kegger at Brad’s on Friday. Fellow students should be grateful for this action. Not to get all soap box-y up in here, but tuition increases are a serious problem.
POST-HIGH SCHOOL EDUCATION HAS BECOME A CLASS-SPECIFIC COMMODITY GEARED AT QUANTITY OF STUDENTS AND REVENUE OVER THE QUALITY AND ACCESSIBILITY OF EDUCATION.
Who the fuck do you think is going to change this inequality? Do you think it is going to be the presidents and chancellors of universities, like Ohio University’s Roderick McDavis and his wife (the only first lady in the school’s history to accept a salary, by the way)? They are not, but people like YOU can. You should be.
I am college dropout, a choice made because I lacked (and still lack) of thousands of dollars and have no desire to rack up thousands more in debt. When I was a student, however, I was an active member of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and studied this issue closely because it hit so close to home for me. The highlight of my freshman year was putting a toilet with fake money glued to it in the yard of the president’s house—obviously, tuition increases have long gotten me riled up with the passion of a thousand feral cats. More so, I believe it is a just and right position to take up if you believe in fair and quality education for all people. To quote the sign held by the protesters throughout their arrest, “Education is not a commodity, students are not customers. Stop selling us out.”
To see a fraction of SDS live on and grow even stronger through OUSU and their protests brings a joyful tear to my eye. It is people like Megan, Ellie, Eden, and Jessica that are taking the necessary drastic steps to ensure that this issue will no longer be ignored. Exploitation of students is not going to go away on its own. People like these four beautiful ladies and their cohorts in the Ohio University Student Union are standing up for something – acts of defiance that actually matter. File this under: people you should associate yourself with. Get to know these people and people like them, and grab control over your future. For those of you who have stood up to financially support these protestors legal fees, kudos to you.
This article is what I am doing as a non-student to fuel their cause. Find these photos plastered everywhere across Athens, Ohio, and please join up in arms and in solidarity: contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you’d like to have your photo taken to make your message seen and heard.
Photos and words by Ashleigh Dye
*Editor’s note: this joke is 100% Alli Maloney. I am so sorry, it is a terrible joke, but I couldn’t help myself. Whatever, eff the man.