It appears that the pervasive nature of Philadelphia tax and spend-city politics has worked its way into Temple Student Government. Just as Mayor Nutter is getting ready to make it rain with more hard-earned tax dollars some students at Temple are trying to rally everyone on campus around a similar cause.
According to an Oct. 6 report by The Temple News [“$5 fee garners support from students” by Nadia Elkaddi], “Students for Environmental Action and two Temple Student Government senators” think it’s acceptable for students to pay green fees. While $5 isn’t much, it’s the principle behind this course of action that students should be opposed to.
It is wrong for students to call upon other students and their families to pay these fees. This legislation also sets an unstable precedent for future action. What if other campus groups and the university build on this example to impose more fees on students? The consequence will be that Temple will have less of an incentive to make budget cuts to pay for related projects. Why would Temple go through the trouble to slash its budget when it can continue to impose fees? This course of action will surely continue unless students oppose these green fees.
The Temple News report lists four items that the green fees might initially pay for: recycling bins, transportation, light bulbs and bike racks. These items raise immediate concern.
There doesn’t appear to be a shortage of recycling bins and bike racks on campus. It is silly to assume that legislative action needs to be taken to remedy a lack of these easily obtainable items.
Transportation is equally absurd, stating that the fee would be used for “more support for public transportation to reduce the amount of cars on campus.” What does that mean? Are students going to be paid to not drive? More importantly, if subsidizing TransPasses is the goal, then TSG and SEA should be reminded that it is wrong to enrich a minority of students at the expense of a majority who pay thousands of dollars to live close to campus. Students should be responsible for their own transportation.
Lastly, the idea that Temple can’t pay for its own light bulbs is the most ridiculous idea conjured up since Michael Dukakis’ prison furlough program for first-degree murderers. Temple can pay for more light bulbs. Plus, the whole notion that this fee is acceptable simply because it is only $5 is insulting. That assumption places no value on the fruits of another students’ labor and it asserts that student financial property is anyone’s to take as long as that property is being taken with good intentions.
People turn sour to the environmental movement because of things like this. If SEA spent more time informing people and asking for donations rather than wasting time encouraging Temple to boost fees during a time of economic instability, they would have probably collected a lot of money for fancy light bulbs. Students are generous and we should be treated like adults, not as bottomless pits of money to pilfer from anytime somebody wants a pet project funded.
Class of 2010