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UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Government Policy Against Students’ Rights

The Massachusetts House of Representatives might pass a bill that limits students’ rights. House Bill 2400 eliminates the democratic process in determining how we can raise funds for student organizations through optional fees.

Optional fees are placed on students’ tuition bill. The Mass Media has one on UMB’s tuition bill (don’t waive that fee!). Every two years we as students vote on whether or not to place the optional fees on our tuition bill and whether we want the optional fee method used to be opt-in or opt-out.

Don’t let the methods or who currently is funded by optional fees side-track you from the fundamental purpose of House Bill 2400: to deny us students our rights to democratically decide for ourselves how we do things on our campuses.

A seemingly insignificant issue such as this one begs the question of why would our House of Representatives invest its valuable time in limiting students’ rights? This is obviously not an easy question to answer. Many people believe it’s an attack on a specific non-profit organization that depends on optional fees paid by students. However this is clearly a direct attack on Massachusetts’ students in general.

We need to preserve our rights. If our Representatives on Beacon Hill don’t value the rights that generations of Americans before us fought hard to acquire then they clearly don’t represent the students of Massachusetts and clearly do not respect democracy or our freedom.

Unfortunately, the UMB Student Senate might also consider following the House of Representatives in setting these limits to our democratic freedoms. It is an imperative that the members of the Student Senate deeply consider the consequences of following the House on these matters. The members of the Student Senate did not run for their respective offices last year on tickets promising to cut students’ rights, and, hopefully, the current members don’t want to be remembered for taking anti-democratic actions against the students.

If this bill passes it will set a dangerous precedent that the state legislature is entitled to limit students’ rights in any way the state sees fit. We need to send a strong and clear message to our legislatures that we value our rights greatly and are not willing to see them squandered on petty semantics. We also need to let our Student Senators know that we don’t want them to follow suit with Bill 2400. Students should go the fourth floor of Wheatley and talk to their student senators about this issue. Otherwise…

C.D. Stone, Production ManagerK.R. Vergets, Photography EditorN.J. Aldrich, Opinion Editor