The University of Arizona has certainly seen its share of protests. Environmental activists opposing the Mount Graham telescopes have practically made the Mall a second home over the years. Students have protested program cuts Ä both real and proposed Ä ranging from Minority Student Affairs to American Sign Language to the marching band. The UA has even served host to bare-breasted women protesting indecent exposure laws.
The relative merits of these protests have been a constant topic for debate. But if any group of protesters has had justice on its side, law students protesting unfair tuition increases are it.
About 40 first-year law students staged a protest at the College of Law last week. They were mad, and here's why:
When the Arizona Board of Regents set tuition for the law school last year, it imposed a hefty $1,000 increase. This applied exclusively to new students entering this year (nine months ago), while continuing students faced only the $250 tuition hike that was imposed university-wide.
First of all, freezing tuition so that students pay about the same amount every year is a dubious practice at best. Tuition should be a reflection of the cost of education. Since the cost of education goes up every year, continuing students should share the additional burden. Otherwise, the new students are asked to pay not only for their own education, but also for the increased cost of educating their older peers.
Translated into cold reality, this practice means that last year's in-state law students paid $1,594 in tuition. Those students paid a modest increase this year (for a total of $1,844), while new students paid $1,000 more than that.
But in the case of this year's new law students, the tuition freeze was only the first injustice. Next year, students who started last year will pay $1,894 (a $50 increase), but those who started this year must pay a second $1,000 increase for a total of $3,894. In other words, this year's batch of future lawyers does not benefit from the tuition freeze at all. They will pay the same amount as next year's recruits Ä and twice as much as the lucky ones, the Class of 1995.
This situation defines unfairness. Students protesting the regents' idiotic approach to law school tuition deserve all the support they can get. Read Next Article