(Michael Chamberlain/Nevada Business Coalition) – Spring Break at UNLV is this week, March 14-19, with classes resuming on March 21. But 150 UNLV students will be getting at least one more additional day of Spring Break.
These students will be traveling to Carson City, courtesy of involuntary contributions from the rest of the students at UNLV, to lobby the Nevada Legislature for more money from taxpayers. Can you say, “Road Trip!”
The Consolidated Students of UNLV (UNLVCSUN) approved $15,000 from a fund that is paid for by mandatory student fees “take students up to Carson City to lobby legislators regarding the current budget situation.”
In other words, UNLVCSUN is using money forcibly taken from other students to fund political activity on school time, activity designed to force Nevada’s taxpayers to part with even more of their own money. The moral and ethical implications of this should be obvious.
While the announcement of the trip on the UNLVCSUN website does not appear to favor one position over another, other areas of the site make it clear where UNLVCSUN stands with respect to proposed reductions in higher education funding. One page asks students for their stories of how budget cuts affect them. The page appeared to be blank this morning. We will wait patiently for a testimonial detailing how budget cuts finally forced the student’s department to cut out fat and streamline its operations.
Another page “contains links to stories that relate to and effect [sic] the budget cuts.” The stories include “Chancellor says budget cuts threaten education system” and a report lauding Montana for continuing “‘to put more money in higher education and K-12 while other states are cutting.’”
It is understandable that higher education students would generally oppose reductions in spending on higher education, in the same way my daughter would oppose a cut in her allowance. This is especially so as they are lectured to and bombarded by those who have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo, regardless of how inefficient and ineffective it is.
But it is not understandable and it is not excusable and it is not forgivable for UNLVCSUN to force others to fund political activity with which they disagree.
(Michael Chamberlain is Executive Director of Nevada Business Coalition.)