The Impact of University Students
Going to a college or university is tricky business. Unless you can somehow afford to pay for your college out of pocket or land a full ride, which most people cannot and do not, then you land yourself in the majority of university students who have to take on a great debt in order to gain a higher education. If there is one thing that universities are good at, it is marketing. Universities make coming to their school look unique, fun, and the most reasonable and perfect fitting option for YOU. Most universities claim to have a diverse campus and somewhere for everyone to fit in. In marketing ads and flyers, universities boast about how many different places their students come from, how many different clubs they have, and how many options there are for different students to be involved. All of these things seem like good characteristics for a school that one would want to go to to have, but many times, schools are overexaggerate the extent of their diversity dynamics on campus are. Many times, students pay a lot of money to go to a school that they were falsely informed on.
So what happens when students are rudely awakened to the reality of their school not living up to the promises it made to them? In high school students are trained to be aware of the fact that they go to a state funded public school, so what they get is what they get and there is no changing it. However, when students get to college, it is almost like a whole other world. Students personally are able to choose what they will be involved in at college from what classes they will be taking with what professors, to where they will live and what career path they will take. With this ample amount of freedom that comes at the cost of many dollars, some students decide to use their time at Universities to address and reform the discriminatory, false leading, or restrictive policies and dynamics that are implemented in their schools. Students who have the same goal at a university can become very persuasive and make significant changes. If banded together, students can assemble to boycott certain aspects of a university, harming the universities economic standing, and students can also produce bad publicity for universities, which is also just as critical of a tactic. Hurting a university financially is, for obvious reasons, a good tactic for getting a universities attention. Higher education is a business, one that costs a lot of money and cannot afford to lose out on a single penny. Universities also will pay attention to students thoughts and feelings about the campus because bad publicity means that it will be harder for the school to get students to pay for their tuition in the future, which again, is hurting their economic gain.
There has been examples around the world of students banding together to create a demand for their school and repercussions if demands are not met. It is important for students trying to make a change in their college to have repercussions if their demands are not met, because this lets the university understand that students are serious about taking action with or without their help. One strong and influential movement that was started by college students is the case of Concerned Students 1950 organization at the University of Missouri. A large group of students banded together to resist the racism and oppression toward black and brown bodies on their campus. Their demand was set high; the removal of their University President. This was a big demand, but one they deemed absolutely necessary because of the insensitivity and discriminatory attitude their president. The student’s repercussions was a hunger strike that they would not end until their president resigned. This movement received backlash and support, and in a matter of days won their fight in a matter of days. A portion of this school’s student body was able to organize, and get the president of the university to resign. That is an extremely influential feat that gives hope to a lot of students in school that they are in control and can make a change together.
There has been other instances in other schools around the world that have included students banding together to make a statement and bring attention to things that are needed to be changed in order for higher education to be beneficial. In South Africa recently, students have been paying higher amounts for an education that was promised to not cost as much by their government. South Africa’s government is not wanting to fund schools and education for the youth there. They claim that they do put funding into schools, but only for a limited amount of people. The students are now trying to protest peacefully, but cannot even do that because of police abusing and hurting them, and pushing them off of the streets. This shows that depending on what area you are in will depend on if you can safely protest oppression or discrimination. In South Africa’s case, students will have to find other ways to fight against their injustices because not only do they have school/higher education forces against them, but the government and police against them.