The Inside Scoop on Midd’s Tuition Fee

Molley Kaiyoorawongs

I have these ideas. But they keep getting thwarted. For instance, I wanted the tuition fee to stop skyrocketing. So I joined the comprehensive fee committee, because writing an editorial only gets some people to nod their heads and turn the page. A committee though, whew! That’s big. But instead of delivering a heart-stopping speech to the committee about how it needs to be reduced (as I had imagined I’d do), I raised my hand to raise the comprehensive fee by 4.25%. Why? I got assigned financial aid. Financial aid needs to go up, so the comprehensive fee does as well.

For over a year, I stood by my decision. I went in raving that Midd wastes too much money. We have too many luxuries! Cut back and stop raising the fee! Then I was asked: where do we spend too much money? Which luxuries would I be willing to forego? I couldn’t think of anything. I like my running water and electricity. The Smog sculpture in front of Bi-Hall didn’t have to be built, but that was a specified contribution. The commons have weekly get-togethers that cost money, but I can’t support dismantling that while I simultaneously complain about the lack of interaction on campus (a different issue entirely). A-hah! The buildings are too pretty! But they’re already built. Shoot.

I’m like the democratic senators in Congress. I no longer stand by the vote I cast a little while ago. It’s because I’ve finally figured out how I got brainwashed: distraction. You see, the budgeting people give you this model in Excel. They say there are some things that are assumed that you can’t question. But in those assumptions lies everything that’s adjustable, essentially. Like how much money each commons gets to buy movies no one will ever watch. Or how much the Econ department gets so professors can take their favorite students to Fire & Ice for lobster dinners. Or how much money the president gets to host catered parties at his house. Or how much money the library gets to buy every single episode of Alias, House, and The Simpsons.

Why are these luxuries protected? Because these are forums that enable academic discourse. Yeah right. Because of distraction, I stood in front of the Board of Trustees and delivered a perfectly-enunciated speech. I said what they wanted to hear.

I’m grateful to the Board for the opportunity. I learned a great deal and appreciate the difficulties they face in determining the comprehensive fee. Still, though, I thought I would be different from the committee members before me.

I hope you, committee members 2007-2008, will be different from the committee members before you.

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