Column: Optional student fees restrict UMN’s freedom to fund campus groups

Vital programs may be in jeopardy.

Taylor Sharp

It’s the end of the road, true believers.

If you’ve been keeping up with this column throughout this semester, I thought I’d wrap things up by dispensing one last drop from Dr. Sharp’s Patented Farm Fresh W.O.W. Tonic (Words of Wisdom that is).

Let’s kick off this jamboree with the University-related saga you and I have been reading and writing about. The Daily reported last week that the state would withhold state funding if the school did not comply with a proposed piece of legislation that would make student service fees at the University optional.

Without being routed by systems that aren’t exclusively beneficial to it, the University, as long as it holds constitutional autonomy, will always be able to work within the needs of the students and repel changes outside its best interests.

In a scenario where vital programs are already in jeopardy, to withhold funding would tack on another layer of maltreatment for our college, minimizing unnecessarily all the enticements that bring people and keep people at the school.

For dilly-dallyers, such as me, who sometimes struggle to work up the gumption to explore all of the University’s nooks and crannies, every avenue through which you might find yourself perusing remains likely to unveil a passion you discover.

Maybe I’m sentimental, or maybe from all the moodiness of the past year, I’m more determined to extract a lesson from it all. But now I want to vivify the quality I find in the University’s many programs that I hope, by keeping its autonomy, it continues to offer. Even on the windiest, peskiest days across the Washington Avenue Bridge, I try to look above times of sluggishness and instead focus on the fact that the University always has the readiness to usher me into something totally captivating.

No matter how many days, I reserve my pessimism for watching a guy unbox early 2000s Legos on YouTube — wrapped in a thermal blanket — I think about all those campus groups that many find enjoyable and impactful. We can’t let that change.