Student groups benefit University population

There were two pieces in The Daily Targum yesterday that I respectfully disagree with. The first piece, a column titled "Rutgersfest further damages U.," stated that the University needs to change its image in the wake of Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi's appearance and Rutgersfest. The second piece, a letter titled "Students deserve control over own money," argues that students should not be forced to pay for events that they do not want — especially ones that have no educational value.

The grumbling that has been going on for three weeks in favor of cutting student fees is disheartening and naïve. As president of the Rutgers University Ski/Snowboard Club — we do compete, don't let "club" fool you — I greatly appreciate the help we get from the student fees. Without these subsidies, our club would not exist for the sheer fact that our members could not afford it. Our dues are already $400 a year and when you add on our training camp and miscellaneous expenses, it is more than $1,000. If we had no help from student fees, the annual cost for each member would easily double.

According to some, though, if student fees were no longer mandatory, then illegitimate clubs that had no strong following would collapse. I would not call my club illegitimate or made up of flakes. We have some of the most passionate people in the University on the team, but asking them to pay more than $2,000 for a school-supported activity is unacceptable.

Not a one of the people who have been calling to eliminate mandatory funds has been involved in a club or organization on campus besides the Targum. Students who are involved in clubs realize that their organizations cannot exist without funds from everyone. We must do our part, by paying student fees, to keep our school exciting and balanced in both entertainment and education.

We all know that Snooki wasn't and isn't an educational resource, but that didn't stop her from having a positive impact on the students who attended her show. She brought joy to people and filled a need expressed by students. She didn't receive the full $32,000, as most still want to point out, and whether it's socially fair, she was paid what the Rutgers University Programming Association (RUPA) was willing and able to pay her. This is basic economics, and neither RUPA nor the student body should be looked on negatively.

There is also legal precedent in the fairness of mandatory student fees. In the case of Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System v. Southworth, the Supreme Court ruled 9-0 in favor of universities charging for mandatory fees regardless of whether students want to pay them.

As students, we need to embrace and support our student-run organizations because they are what make this University awesome and fun to learn at. We come to college to not only learn but also to have opportunities that we wouldn't normally have. The University is regarded as a great institution of learning and has some of the top schools in law, business, communication and philosophy. These experiences do not hurt us but instead make us well rounded and unique — just like this fine University.

Andrew Kerth is a School of Arts and Sciences senior majoring in journalism and media studies with minors in labor studies and digital communication, information and media.


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