Tent State wastes student funds


This week marks the 10th anniversary of Tent State University, a movement started at the University in 2003 as a protest of University spending and other social issues. Students set up tents in the Voorhees Mall on the College Avenue campus for a week where they eat, sleep and discuss different problems plaguing the University. This yearly event has caught on at other universities around the country and has become a national movement for college students to protest different universities’ spending.

When I first came to the University, I heard from some people that I knew that it was a “chill place to smoke and play music.” The residence hall I lived in was highly liberal, so I expected nothing less of the residents. I had no problem with it then. It was just a bunch of kids skipping class for a week and wasting their educations for a social cause they believed in. If I didn’t want to participate in it, I had no obligation to do so.

I had no problem with it, until I heard that this year, the Rutgers University Student Assembly is partly funding Tent State. RUSA, which gets funding through student fees, is paying for a protest of University spending. I don’t know if it’s only me who finds that to be highly ironic and maddening. Why should my student funds be funneled into something I don’t believe in? And furthermore, why should my student funds be funneled into something so totally unnecessary? Why can’t my student fees go into fixing the infrastructure of this University? Or go toward something that will be beneficial to me? What is Tent State trying to prove?

There are so many things that the University could spend this money on, and yet it is being wasted on a “part protest, part festival,” as I heard it being called this morning as I was leaving Voorhees Mall after my morning class. This University has enough trouble with money as is, and I am infuriated that my hard-earned money — and the hard-earned money of all the other students who attend this school — is going to something that is protesting exactly this type of thing. This money should be spent fixing air conditioning in buildings or maybe putting a working water fountain in Scott Hall. But instead, I now have to walk through a minefield of protesters that are there simply because I attend this school.

This is not OK. RUSA really needs to take a step back and realize that this money they have to work with is better spent elsewhere.

Kimberly Syvarth is a School of Arts and Sciences junior majoring in English and Jewish studies.

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