On March 4, Duke University Union and the Duke Student Government will be asking each student to vote on a proposed increase in student fees: an additional $11 per student for the Union and $8.50 per student for DSG. Although many of us (and our parents) certainly have the means to afford a $19.50 increase, students should view the issue on principle.
The logic behind the initiative, "more money will bring us more and better programs," cannot be disputed. The only problem is that there is no end to such logic. When will good be good enough? When can we be satisfied with Rent and Robert Pinsky--both on the frontline of their respective arenas--and realize that the quality of our university experience cannot be made reliant upon big names (with their sterile, canned speeches) and prestigious shows, but by men and women, shows and programs that stimulate us intellectually, artistically and spiritually. These opportunities often do not require bigger budgets--they simply require passionate student leaders who work diligently to get the "bang for the buck" from programs of integrity.
Students should recognize the limits of student governance on this campus and put a stop to spend-happy, Rumsfeld-esque student bureaucrats. Let us choose to be thrifty consumers of the university experience.