Ventura’s views not grounded in reality

Last week, when Jesse Ventura stopped by campus for some last minute campaigning, he was asked about the financial burden of going to college. He basically said if you’re smart enough to go to college, you’re smart enough to find the money.
Obviously, Ventura’s stint at a community college didn’t give him a proper perspective on exactly how much college actually costs. Not all of us have pro-wrestling to fall back on once the banks come to collect their cash. Jesse’s view is a definite ‘pull yourself up by your bootstraps’ sentiment. It’s a common sentiment, but one with no basis in reality.
We all want to think we’re tough, that we overcame some kind of odds to get to where we are. The thing is, all of us have had help along the way. It comes in different forms — parents, community, government.
Most of our intolerance to help involves money: welfare, child care, tuition. And it’s expected that when people have problems, they should solve them on their own. Not everyone can. Not everyone has the resources or family to pull themselves up.
Most students simply cannot afford to shell out the full cost of tuition. Ventura’s solution to that is loans, loans and more loans. Students are graduating while owing tens of thousands in loans. Is that any way to start a career? It prohibits graduates from contributing to the economy. People want to buy houses and cars.
Getting a degree is an investment, yes. It has value and is important to our careers. However, the University is a public university and the idea behind having a public university is that those of us without a ton of money can still compete.
The Ventura bootstrap mentality questions whether education is a right or a privilege. How do we value education? Ventura intimates that students are either greedy or not trying hard enough to find money. His sentiment is that college is an extra, not a necessity, and therefore only available to those who can find a way to afford it.
It’s unrealistic to make college a free ride. But it’s up to us and our politicians to come up with ways to lighten the huge debt of college tuition.
Hubert Humphrey has done just that. Humphrey is pushing community service as a way to pay off tuition. Not only does it pay back the community, but community service work is much more fulfilling than sending a check out to a bank every month while working some horrible job. Since public schools use public funds and the communities use public funds, the labor would be worth money in a direct way.
Humphrey is trying to come up with alternatives. He at least seems to have heard what students are saying about the high cost of tuition. Ventura’s condescending and simplistic attitude infuriates. He insulted the concerns of students.
Schools need to be accessible to the public, and since the public isn’t rich, finding ways to assist public university students is part of our government’s job. That’s why not all colleges are private. If they were, many of us would not be going to school. We should expect more out of our politicians. The best way to do that is vote. We need to send a message that says we will not tolerate views like Jesse’s.
Hey, if we’re smart enough to go to college, we’re smart enough to know Jesse doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
Sara Hurley’s column appears every Monday. Send comments to [email protected]