Thursday, November 23, 2017
Education

At USF, hitting up students for cash adds insult to injury

RECOMMENDED READING


Okay, students, today's lesson is: How to get blood out of a turnip.

Not that I'm referring to today's fine crop of University of South Florida students as "turnips." But there may be those out there who would, given the latest plan to get something out of you.

Apparently, there wasn't enough bad news for college students this week with those fat tuition hikes looming, so here's an adding-insult-to-injury fundraising idea from USF:

How about we hit up starving college students for their Ramen Noodle money?

Talk about your timing: USF is forming an organization to solicit current students for donations just days after the state House gave the nod to a budget that includes an 8 percent tuition hike.

With, oh by the way, an expected 7 percent hit likely to follow, courtesy of the university system.

You wouldn't think this would leave much in the way of spare change for a USF Foundation group called the "Bull Raisers" to collect, and you can insert your own smart aleck take on that name here. But here's the plan: get students to solicit fellow students for donations to fund things like financial aid and campus organizations. Presumably, they'll do this like they're working a roomful of Donald Trumps, able to write a six-figure check on a whim, instead of a populace struggling under crushing student debt, tuition hikes and textbook costs — not to mention very scary questions about what a college degree will actually be worth in this wretched economy.

Nice idea, if students in general had it to give.

I love USF, my alma mater. I truly do. But a lot of us who went there back in the day struggled with the image of a newish commuter school without the benefit of the traditions of other state schools, like long-standing, fiercely loyal and monied alumni. You may not love the idea of what a football team can do for an institute of higher learning, but we got us a team and how fun has that turned out to be? If USF's growing reputation as a research university, or for cool things like the medical school or the Moffitt Cancer Center aren't enough, the Bulls are another reason for us alum to don the green and gold.

One person involved in the new student solicitation effort told Times reporter Kim Wilmath that the real goal is introducing students to philanthropy, which sounds akin to introducing them to yacht racing. Now? Really?

Want to give students a chance to give back to fellow students in need? How about we get creative with something like sweat-equity hours, as in free tutoring from those with knowledge in a specific subject?

While other schools may similarly hit up students, some, including the University of Central Florida and New College of Florida, do not. The University of Florida waits to ask until students are ready to graduate and (hopefully) start earning a real paycheck. And do we really need to give the Gators around here another reason to feel superior?

Donations are in no way mandatory, and so this is not the world's biggest outrage. Students can say no.

But here's the vocabulary words for the day, class, and ones I'd rather not have associated with the proud (new) traditions of my alma mater:

Just a tad tacky.

• • •

A note after Friday's column lamenting the Susan G. Komen's charity's regrettable and undoubtedly political decision to quit funding breast cancer screenings through Planned Parenthood — and then the news that the charity apologized and backed off.

Wow.

Sometimes people stand up (and write checks) for what's right, and even a major player like the Komen group has to hear them.

Comments
Self-proclaimed Nazi banned from University of North Florida — but allowed to remain a student

Self-proclaimed Nazi banned from University of North Florida — but allowed to remain a student

A self-proclaimed Nazi is banned from the University of North Florida’s campus — but will remain a student, university officials said.Ken Parker, a 37-year-old Navy veteran who once served as the grand dragon, or highest-ranking leader, of the Ku Klu...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Pasco students score big at Junior Thespian Festival

Pasco students score big at Junior Thespian Festival

NEW PORT RICHEY — Pasco schools brought home 20 top honors from the District 11 Junior Thespian Festival, which included 22 schools from Pinellas, Pasco, Hernando and Manatee counties and took place at the new River Ridge FAME Academy on Nov. 17 and ...
Published: 11/22/17
A year after impasse, Pasco school contract talks run more smoothly

A year after impasse, Pasco school contract talks run more smoothly

LAND O’LAKES — Representatives from the Pasco County school district and the United School Employees of Pasco sat together several times in the weeks leading to Thanksgiving break, trading contract proposals amid (mostly) amicable conversation.They c...
Published: 11/22/17
Epilogue: Music professor Rita Osborn insisted that her students experience the arts live

Epilogue: Music professor Rita Osborn insisted that her students experience the arts live

The thousands of students who signed up for Rita Osborn’s music and humanities classes at St. Petersburg Junior College knew what they had to do to pass.They could study and memorize material for tests, but they wouldn’t earn more than a C if they di...
Updated: 13 minutes ago
When school is out, a Pinellas camp for autistic kids offers a much-needed service

When school is out, a Pinellas camp for autistic kids offers a much-needed service

ST. PETERSBURG — Matt Wiseman’s cellphone rings at least once a week, usually after 9 p.m., with a call from a desperate parent. The voice on the line is tired, defeated. Once again, their child was excluded from an after-school program or summer cam...
Updated: 14 minutes ago
USF professors honored as AAAS Fellows

USF professors honored as AAAS Fellows

Six University of South Florida professors whose research efforts span biology, engineering, chemistry and business have been selected as Fellows to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the organization announced Nov. 20.Election ...
Published: 11/21/17
Updated: 11/22/17

University of Central Florida suspends sorority for hazing

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — A University of Central Florida sorority has been suspended after its members were accused of hazing, underage drinking and providing false information to law enforcement.The university placed Alpha Xi Delta on an interim suspens...
Published: 11/21/17
10 African-Americans named Rhodes scholars, most ever

10 African-Americans named Rhodes scholars, most ever

Associated PressThe latest group of U.S. Rhodes scholars includes 10 African-Americans — the most ever in a single Rhodes class — as well as a transgender man and four students from colleges that had never had received the honor before. The Rhodes Tr...
Published: 11/19/17

Class notes

School Calendar• Nov. 27: School resumes after Thanksgiving break• Dec. 22: End of second grading quarter.• Dec. 23-Jan. 7: Winter Break.• Jan. 8: Teacher planning day. No school for students.Arts/Music/TheaterCenter for the Arts at River Ridge Middl...
Published: 11/16/17
Updated: 11/22/17
Pasco’s 2018 Outstanding Senior hails from River Ridge High

Pasco’s 2018 Outstanding Senior hails from River Ridge High

River Ridge High School senior Connor Beckman has been named Pasco County’s 2018 Outstanding Senior.Commander of the school’s Air Force JROTC program, Beckman is also an Eagle Scout mentor, National Honor Society president and swim team captain.Beckm...
Published: 11/22/17