Dropping Out For Social Activism

909 WordsJul 11, 20154 Pages
The challenges that face college students today are vastly different from those in previous generations. Tuition at Michigan in 1960 cost less than $150 per semester. That left students who earned their degree move on to become contributing members of society without the burden of student loans weighing them down. Students today, however—even those who hold two part-time jobs—fall tens of thousands of dollars into debt, a burden that limits their career choices. Dropping out for social activism brings competitive disadvantage. The speedup of academic pressures dries up discretionary time that used to go to dreaming and exploring. Campuses are crowded with scrambling multitaskers for the most part too busy to protest the pace. Meanwhile, increases in the cost of college exceed inflation every year, intensifying the squeeze. We had different grievances. The curriculum was often irrelevant to the social crisis we perceived ourselves inheriting; it needed reform. Students were powerless under the paternal doctrine of in loco parentis; we wanted rights. Students were disenfranchised, even though men could be drafted; we needed the vote and alternatives to the draft. Structurally excluded, we went to the streets, to the outside, demanding change on the inside. It 's an exaggeration, but only after strikes, rioting, and taking over buildings did colleges offer the mainstream menu of women 's studies; black, Latino and Asian studies; queer studies; and environmental programs that
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