Sunday, November 21, 2004

Starving students

UC fees has been hiked up again. My brother and sister go to UC Davis and Berkeley respectively. The fees hike does not affect them as much because my parents still believe in paying for their children through college. It is kids like my sister's ex-boyfriend I feel bad for. He works 2 jobs along with school to pay bills. He is a really nice guy who calls me didi, plays songs on his guitar for us, suggests punk rock groups for me to listen to, makes a decent effort to learn Hindi and appreciates my cooking. I do cook when my siblings are visiting. They somehow invoke a maternal instinct in me. I also feel responsible for feeding them healthy home cooked food.

It seems wrong that the top earners of society get a tax cut while poor students face an increase in school fees. Not that I like paying taxes. I remember getting a shock on seeing my first pay check. My uncle laughed at my claim that the HR miscalculated and sent me a check of half of my pay. However I really did not need the $80 Governor Schwarzenegger refunded me for my car registration fee. With our six-figure salaries we can easily afford to pay more taxes. In fact my friends who drive SUVs should be penalized for driving their expensive gas guzzlers and made to pay the $500 wrongly refunded to them. Heck, they spend $800 on one gambling trip to Las Vegas, they can easily afford it.

It is said that rich and smart kids go to Stanford and poor and smart kids go to Berkeley. It is probably one reason for the bitter rivalry between the two schools. The students, who cannot afford to go to Stanford, end up in UC Berkeley. The game between Cal and Stanford this weekend was a huge deal for the alumni. My company had a tailgate party on Friday afternoon. At this rate, in a few years, poor students won't even be able to afford Cal. My sister's out of state classmates are already dropping out. Would UC also become a school only the rich can afford? I wonder what affect this will have on Berkeley's culture that I admire so much.

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