Editorial, Opinion

STAFF EDIT: Union’s deafening silence

The Boston University Student Union may have been successful in increasing attendance for Monday’s General Assembly meeting, but the fact that there was no mention of the Board of Trustees’ decision to increase tuition and housing costs by a combined 3.75 percent is truly shameful.

The Union is first and foremost an advocacy group for the interests of BU students, and there are few things more important to students than the cost of tuition and housing. The Union constitution identifies ‘to protect student rights and provide for our needs through a representative democracy’ as a principal purpose of the Union. Apparently, the Union does not think that BU students have a right to an affordable education.

On March 5, the Student Union of the City University of New York organized a protest attended by thousands of students in response to a tuition increase. The tuition increase at BU this year was proportionally less than previous years, but if BU were to increase tuition by an outrageous amount in the future, could we trust the Union to stand up for the student body? If this year’s tuition increase did not even merit a mention at the GA meeting, then the answer is probably not.

The argument that the Union has no control over the cost of attending BU and should therefore not waste time fighting it is wrong. Take the Union’s action on the issue of medical amnesty for example. The Union may not have the power to change BU policy, but it has been fighting to bring about a clear BU medical amnesty policy by getting students to sign petitions and putting pressure on the administration. When it comes to tuition, the Union should be taking a similar course of action, or the increases will continue to come without any opposition.

Of course, the Union can’t take all the blame. Ultimately, it falls to the student population to demand that their Union fights to keep costs low. There may be plenty of wealthy students who are not bothered by the tuition increase, but surely it has caused some students in dire financial straits to wonder if they can afford BU any longer, and they need to make their voices heard by both the Union and the administration.

Issues such as medical amnesty and the extension of library hours are certainly worthy of the Union’s attention, but the Union has to step back and look at the big picture. If the Union is going to continue to look the other way while BU raises tuition and housing prices, then it is failing in its responsibility to advocate on behalf of the student body.

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