Bake sale coverage is a distraction

I am shocked and saddened by how quickly the media has eaten up the anti-affirmative action bake sale at Berkeley. It is time for the media to address an issue that actually has long-term ramifications for the State of California and the communities this bake sale targets: the privatization of its world-class public university system. Given the rate at which the University of California is privatizing, few underprivileged youth will apply to — much less attend — UC Berkeley in the future.

The current UC Office of the President proposal seeks to raise tuition by up to 81 percent over the next four years, creating even more barriers, especially for working-class youth, to attend the University of California. As it is, only 11 percent of the university’s budget comes from state funds, a number that some administrators point to as a sign that the university has already privatized. And while there are financial aid packages in place to help the poorest students pay for college, it is our graduate students, the working class and middle-class families of undergraduates that will be hit the hardest.

Exacerbating the problem are the many academic programs at UC Berkeley and other campuses that either have established or seek to establish professional degree fees (called “professional degree supplemental tuition”). These fees are added on top of regular tuition for students in professional programs like public health, public policy and law. It now costs more to go to Berkeley Law as an out-of-state student than to go to any of the other top 80 law schools in the country, including Yale, Harvard and Stanford. Even for California residents, a law degree costs over $50,000 and an MBA over $46,000 per year, much of which is often paid by federal loans.

New proposed professional degree fees would offer two new masters degree programs at Berkeley but would cost more than all the comparable public schools and even some of the best private schools. How can we expect to compete with these schools for the top students with diverse backgrounds when we have lost the best thing we had to offer: an affordable top-notch education?

We keep shifting the cost of a UC education to students without talking about the consequences. How can a graduate student projected to earn $60,000 a year be expected to succeed if he or she owes over $100,000 in loans, especially in light of recent federal legislation that does away with subsidized federal loans for graduate students? Moreover, as top schools boast about their diversity efforts and compete for the best and brightest students of color, what competitive advantage will UC Berkeley have? Given the direction we are headed, UC Berkeley will be, at best, a semi-private university that doesn’t provide its students the perks that come with a private education.

For years, UC Berkeley has been one of the best, if not the best, public university in the world. While maintaining this high standard, UC Berkeley has educated California’s poor and rich alike.

If we want to preserve this promise of excellence and access to education, we need to think outside the box. It’s time to move past band-aid solutions like higher tuition. We need a long-term plan to keep higher education affordable and public in California.

However, until the voters and the media start paying attention, state legislators will remain deaf to these concerns. If we really believe in the value of public education and want it to remain accessible to communities of color and working-class youth in California, we need to wake up.

Instead of covering this ridiculous, offensive and overhyped bake sale, start covering real news issues that actually might make a difference for California’s future.

Let’s just let the Berkeley College Republicans eat their (cup)cake! It’s nothing more than an indication of how removed they are from the real fight for preserving the University of California.

Bahar Navab is a graduate student at the School of Public Health and president of the Graduate Assembly at UC Berkeley.

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  • Tony M

    I guess little control-mongers like Bahar Navab are “shocked and saddened” that they don’t get to control public discourse or silence attention on an issue they would prefer to ignore. These narcissistic crybabies are going to need an endless supply of Pampers if they ever make it out into the real world.

  • anon

    Berkeley has to go the privatization route – necessarily for survival.  The state is hopeless.

  • Anonymous

    Banks give 3 cents a month for interest which let’s be frank is nothing, but demands students to pay 6% interest on student loans right after graduation in a market where the “job creators” keep firing employees more than hiring is a slap in the face to America’s youth.  Stop paying taxes.  
    Let the pensioners scramble for their entitlement funds like Medicare, Social Security, Section 8 which are built like ponzi schemes anyway.  So many baby boomers cashing out over the next ten years to leave future generations with absolutely nothing.  The government should freeze all checks to the hippie generation who left this country broken and divert it to fund college students to fix their problems.  
    60 years is a long time hoarding all that cash and taking government subsidy checks and taking the minimum wage jobs.  The greed is too much.  No wonder unemployed/underemployed young adults who can’t afford college are protesting, they have no income, no jobs, no assets…the NINJA generation with nothing to lose.  
    What? are we supposed to do, sit at home and wait for Washington to end their political games? Wall St. to give us table scraps of 40-100K new jobs when millions are unemployed?  …only to use up all our savings and get evicted?  Homelessness will be rampant in the coming years.Take care of us now, we will be taking care of you later…maybe.
    I’m sick of the seniors flaunting their opulent retirement with the house paid off and frivolous travels to Europe when the rest of the country is broke.  Future generations won’t be able to retire because the age of retirement gets raised to above 67!  
    Under no condition should taxpayers bail out the companies.  They failed for a reason.  They deserve to fail.  Nobody in their right mind would sign the deed to their house to their local mechanic or barbershop, but the government cut a massive check to the banks and nationalized the auto industry.  Banks are paying off their toxic assets gouging customer fees to use their own money!  It’s their own fault Detroit didn’t compete with the hybrid Prius for ten years.  Now they are so big they will FAIL because they don’t change their corrupt habits.  They used bailout money to give bonuses to their CEO’s so they can go to their country clubs.  The car industry spent their bailout money on more commercials: Buy a truck, and we will donate a truck full of canned foods to a local food bank.  Utter crap.  That’s our money!
    We are Legion
    We do not forget
    We do not forgive

    • Somebody

      Let’s show the country how protesting should be done.  We make it LEGEND!

      Afghanistan/Iraq/Afghanistan part2/Pakistan= it’s Vietnam all over again!
      Protest for political causes, not for trees.  We have a REPUTATION to maintain.
      This is BEAR country bitches!!

    • Tony M

      [Banks give 3 cents a month for interest which let's be frank is nothing,
      but demands students to pay 6% interest on student loans right after
      graduation in a market where the "job creators" keep firing employees
      more than hiring is a slap in the face to America's youth.]

      They do it because they damn well know that half of those students will default on their loans eventually, many of them because they will never complete college, much less have the earning capability to pay them back. As far as your slogans, see how far you get in the real world chanting demands without having anything to offer in return.

  • Anonymous

    It’s time for the public to prioritize where financial aid goes.  Do we really have the money to finance barely-qualified students majoring in ethnic self-pity studies?  Can we really afford 8 years of grants for a part-time student who may never complete his degree?  Why is it so important to hire expensive professors in majors where future alumni cannot find jobs?  And if race and adversity can be considered during admissions, why not earnings potential of applicants as well?

  • Sanity

    The reason the bake sale got so much attention in the first place is because nutcases like you who think an Ivy League level education should cost next to nothing  (and apparently, be available to everyone, regardless of their ability to produce at this level as long they make the right excuses) made a very loud and public fuss about it. It’s comical for you to pin BCR for the “distraction.” 

    And I’d advise you to check your facts about federal loans–they’re one of the primary reasons the cost of education is so high. Econ 101–more money chasing fewer products equals higher prices. Nowhere in this entire article do you offer any suggestions as to how to fix the educational system in this state. At the risk of giving you too much credit, perhaps that’s because you yourself realize that the proposal you’d offer would sound primitive and childish–just fleece the rich. An idea that never worked in the first place, but which is especially doomed to failure now. It’s the digital age, my friend. Want to be useful to your whiny little movement? Look up the term “capital flight.” That’s the fate you want to force on California. 

    • Tony M

      [Nowhere in this entire article do you offer any suggestions as to how to fix the educational system in this state.]

      Of course not, because in reality they have no real answers to offer. All these lefties do is protest and offer some rehashed version of the same failed marxist/socialist policies that have been a disaster everywhere they have been applied.

  • UCMeP

    support ripping off all students equally—take part in UCMeP’s Equality Bake Sale

  • anonymous

    How can a graduate student projected to earn $60,000 a year be expected
    to succeed if he or she owes over $100,000 in loans, especially in light
    of recent federal legislation that does away with subsidized federal
    loans for graduate students?

    Um, maybe he shouldn’t have went to graduate school in the first place?

    • um

      Um, isn’t the goal of public education that we all chip in a little bit so that those who can’t afford education at private school market rates are able to afford the cost of attendance?

      • anonymous

        That is the goal. The question is whether, and in what circumstances, it is a worthy goal.

        • Anonymous

          It is always a worthy goal! Education is a beautiful thing!

          • Tony M

            Thanks for proving that classic example of why the left is screwed up in the head. Platitudes, slogans, and naive intentions mean nothing in real life.

    • Dss

      People who don’t know the difference between “gone” and “went” should not be going to grad school, that’s for sure.

      • anonymous

        Maybe you should go “fuck” yourself.