This Letter to the Editor is written in response to a news article written by Angelina Brede titled “Students, faculty question spring, summer tuition costs, quality of remote learning.”
Though I understand the frustration with the University of Michigan’s refusal to reduce tuition costs for the spring and summer terms, I cannot agree with the sentiment entirely. Tuition is about so much more than paying to be on campus for classes and community.
First and foremost: Spring and summer terms are incredibly different from what occurred during this winter term. They are optional — nobody is expected to take courses during these terms. Additionally, they were moved online a month in advance of the courses starting. This gives instructors substantially more time to convert the courses than there was during this term, and thus, these courses should be of substantially higher quality in comparison. Beyond this, students are making an informed decision. We were told the classes would be remote far in advance. Unlike this term, nobody is being blindsided by this change.
Furthermore, though buildings are on lockdown, University resources are fighting to go remote for the benefit of students. I understand we’re losing the “campus experience” by not being in Ann Arbor, but we are not losing all of the resources of student and University organizations. The library has made an additional 1150 books free-to-read online. Many organizations, including The Daily, First Generation, LSA Opportunity Hub and LSA Honors, have offered online events for their members and/or the broader University community. Though these resources are compromised, it’s demeaning to erase the labor of countless people in complaints about losing the “campus experience” by insinuating that we have lost them entirely.
The University is more than its buildings. Spring and summer tuition will support the additional labor of faculty and staff who are working tirelessly to give us the opportunities we are so scared of losing.
Beth Devlin is a freshman in the College of Literature, Science & the Arts and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.