U of C should be sans surplus

By Nathan Atnikov

Ever since I became a student at the University of Calgary in the fall of 2001, one of the main complaints I’ve heard from students and faculty is that there is a ‘lack of funding.’ Every lazy complaint about any thing from the quality of the classrooms to the sizes of the classes themselves is met with an equally lazy excuse–throw your hands in the air and say it with me: ‘There isn’t enough money!’

Well, this just in: the Alberta government is rolling in money. So much in fact, that Premier Ralph Klein is giving a $400 handout (or handback) to each and every citizen of our fair province. You don’t have to be a home-owner to qualify–all you have to do is live here. Every single resident is entitled to the windfall. Now, it doesn’t take a political scientist to realize that this free cash giveaway is little more than a PR ploy by Klein, after all, $400 doesn’t get you much these days. But what if you combined all that money into one large pot? Suddenly, the solution to our little under-funding problem seems to be writing itself. Instead of giving U of C students the money that will probably be wasted on booze and other ‘recreational endeavours,’ put the money back into our school. Seems like a simple enough solution, right? Not so fast.

The problem is as follows: our school does not have a funding problem–we’ve got plenty of money. The question we ought to be asking isn’t ‘why don’t we have any money?’ it’s ‘where the hell is our money going?’ If you look around, you can see that the school is spending money, but not on what the students or faculty would consider top priorities or problems. Instead, it’s being spent on aesthetic bullshit.

In my first four years at this university, I have seen countless re-paintings of support beams and doorframes, as if a fresh coat of taupe makes me feel better about the institution I attend. Meanwhile, I’ve lost hours of class time to technological failures because of inferior equipment. Isn’t a university supposed to be ahead of the curve when it comes to technological advances? I’ve also seen grass pulled up and re-planted outside of Mac Hall for no reason at all, and yet there are still areas of the school that are less than wheelchair friendly.

The problem isn’t money, it’s priorities. So, Ralph, I say the hell with giving this school any more money (who’s stupid idea was that, anyways?). They’ve proven they don’t know how to spend it. Send me that $400 so I can get plastered and forget everything I would’ve learned if the VCR in my classroom worked.

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