Student serfdom

When students getting less for a higher-costing education, serfdom reigns.

On Monday, The Minnesota Daily reported students are using more of their own money to cover the costs of higher education. WhatâÄôs more, the school costs do not even come back to them most of the time. More in the past years has been spent on administrational âÄúneeds,âÄù academic support and student services âÄî rather than classroom instruction. Following a nationwide trend, the most highly paid persons at the University of Minnesota are administrators, whose efficient signatures are irreplaceable to the dynamo that is the University. So far, the only thing we really are looking for is another round of above-average tuition increases. Excellent. I began to look around, worried about my own future after college, out in the world on my own. I scoured Web posts and newspapers, but found nothing âÄî until I happened upon a flyer in Northrop Mall: GOT A DEGREE? STILL WORKING ON IT? GOT LOANS TO PAY? NEED A HOME? Apparently, the Russian Department, sponsored by the University, has for a while made serfdom in the fields of the St. Paul campus. I traveled to St. Paul the next day to find the fields flowing with workers. They stood in formal wear, mostly. No tuxedos; no, this was no Fortune 500 plot, but still they dressed in khakis with some neutral dress shirts and tasteful ties. A particularly well-kept man looked up at me from his spadework. I waved to him, smiling, but he dug around in his suit jacket, eventually coming up with a glass vodka bottle and hurling it at me. He mightâÄôve been warmer than I thought. I dodged, and ran to the rundown field house where I saw plumes of smoke rising from the chimney. Inside, three men in fox and beaver pelts sat around the hearth in camping chairs, laughing raucously with glasses in hand. One of them turned to me, and asked in a suspicious Russian accent: âÄúVodka, friend?!âÄù âÄúNo, thanks,âÄù I replied. After a few shots, I found out more specifics to the contract of the Russian DepartmentâÄôs serfdom. After a few more shots, I signed the contract placed before me with ease, and laid back while I listened to the heaviest of the three expound my work. âÄúThe fields are to be plowed every day regardless of weather. Though it may be winter, things will grow! Even in this economy, there are seeds to be sown. For pay, you get vodka, and a minute fraction of your loans will be paid every week you work âÄî it is cold in here, no? Vladimir Vladovitch! Fire!âÄù Vladimir threw some miracle calculus books onto the embers. âÄúNow, this is professional, so we expect nice clothing. The University has pride in appearances. And if you want ever the vodka to help you think through this, just ask! We will put you in the fields today, if you likeâÄù âÄî I nodded, Yes! âÄî âÄúOK. We shall arrange you with âĦ Mike and Tom! They are located around back with some helpers. Have another shot âĦ âÄù I stumbled out back to find two men leaning up against a pair of yoked oxen. âÄúYou two âĦ are you Mike? And Tom?âÄù âÄúNo, friend! I am Stephan, and he is Konstantin! These,âÄù gesturing to the oxen, âÄúare Mike and Tom.âÄù I followed Stephen and Konnie to the frostbitten grounds to place the plow. I asked Stevie how long he had been here: âÄúTwo years. Well, eight with school. But I leave next week, they say!âÄù We all took a shot and set to plowing. Matt Grimley welcomes comments at [email protected]