university as entertainment

by Sofia

Last winter I knew a girl from France who was astonished at how university worked here as compared to back home. Stuyding in France is very cheap, but in order for that to be the case it’s about going to class and little else. In Canada student space is valued and there are events, fancy gymnasiums, student initiatives (like Sustainable Concordia, the Potato, Frigo Vert, the Co-op Bookstore, clubs) and a hierarchy of political student bodies with massive budgets to make this work. In most cases, the promotion of student life has nothing to do with the activities of a student–namely, studying.

The CSU is pushing this even further with a proposal for a student centre that will cost $43 billion (67$ per semester for full-time students). I agree with voting for fee levies for humble initiatives that make Concordia a community, but a building with space for arcade games on campus is a waste of our money. Maybe it’s because I’m an international student and it hurts a lot to pay tuition, but it reminds me that I’m here to get an education, not to have a party on campus.

I wonder about the role of the university in a capitalist world that pushes it more and more towards becoming a private business. How does this pressure affect its objectives and policies?

I also wonder how increased rates of post-secondary education in Canada affect the population, as well as the education. Does it pay to dumb down classes for more people to get degrees? Does it elevate their quality of life?

Lastly, it would be interesting to run a sort of culture- and class-neutral IQ test on the wealthiest people in the US and compare the distribution to the rest of the population. Would they be similar? Would the rich score higher? If not, I would cite it as evidence against the American Dream.

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