Lawsuit-free since 9/14/05

Friday, December 24, 2004

SLU Takes Back Its Campus-- From Poor Children

As most of our readers know, SLU recently cut funding for Upward Bound and the program will be forced to move its headquarters to SUNY Canton in the early Spring.

Why? The cash-strapped University may have been seeking to cut costs to provide greater services to its students. But according to this SLU press release "[f]unding from the U.S. education department covers approximately 92 percent of the program's costs, with the balance coming from institutional funds, New York State and the United States Department of Agriculture."

In plain English, Upward Bound cost the University virtually no money to run. So why the shift?

In a memo (issued in tandem with SUNY Canton President Joseph Kennedy), SLU President Dan Sullivan stated, "SUNY Canton is positioned extremely well to serve the Upward Bound Program, given its thoughtful and comprehensive services in remediation and its experience in the New York State version of this program, Liberty Partnership."

[One quick grammatical note for Sully and Jo-Jo-- the phrase "given its thoughtful and comprehensive services..." refers, in your statement, to the "Upward Bound Program" (its actual name is simply "Upward Bound"-- you don't have to capitalize "Program") rather than your intended institution, SUNY Canton. Read Take Back Our Campus! every day and learn a little something about the English language, kiddos.]

The word "remediation" is very curious. The word itself is a fairly recent invention, business jargon normally used when a corporation is forced to repair ecological damage caused by unlawful practices-- perhaps, in this case, the capitalist repression of education for the poor. The root is from "remedial"-- "concerned with the correction of faulty study habits." About both notions SLU freely (and sadly) admits it no longer cares and that a poorly funded SUNY college will better provide the service.

The Upward Bound program is (in the words of the frontispiece to SLU's Upward Bound page) "designed to generate in participants the skills and motivation necessary to complete high school and to enter and succeed in college." Indeed, what better way to encourage poor children to pursue academia than to let them know they are no longer welcome among the expensively manicured lawns of our private University? "Shush, dear, and wipe the dirt from your face. A mostly vocational school is a better option for you. SUNY Canton's Mortuary Science program is one of the better ones. And being poor, don't you deserve a career among the dead?"

The classist implications of the decision are clear. Rather than allow disenfranchised children to feel comfortable (for a few weeks each summer) at a private university, SLU decided to exorcise the entire program. Rather increase the likelihood that poor children would have the academic skills as well as the "audacity of hope" to apply to a private University, SLU has decided to relegate the waifs to the confines of an underfunded state school.

Rather than buck up the pittance required to run the Upward Bound program, what has our proud University spent its money on? Allow me to provide a few short examples:

First, the new Student Center-- $15 million and 60,000 square feet. The structure will remain unnamed until a donor provides $7.5 million, half the building cost. [I hope that one of my homophobic and functionally illiterate detractors (who can be found here and more recently here) gets his rich daddy to donate the money. I'd love to see the "Christian Evangelist is a Big Fucking Fag and Needs to Take It Up the Ass Student Center."--CE. In one of our rare points of agreement, I'd like to see that, too.--Ed.]

In the past few years, the SLU Board of Trustees has pledged $2 million as part of the Canton Initiative. The purpose of this initiative is to provide money for such projects of laughing importance as the Heritage Grist Mill Association. Money has also been pledged to "[n]ew parking and plans for expansion of parking" within Canton. Those last monies invoke the question-- in a town that requires barely fifteen minutes to walk from end to end, when has parking in downtown Canton ever been a problem?

As part of the same initiative, SLU has been more than happy to throw free money (and your tutition dollars) at for-profit businesses such as:

--The Partridge Den: the Canton home of overpriced bagels.
--Hackett's: A sporting goods store whose owners run very profitable franchises in both Ogdensburg and Massena.
--Shear Designs: A beauty salon for the terminally ugly and soulless.
--The Glass Onion: An establishment where faculty, administrators and rich students alike can get drunk without the company of the fearsome Canton "townies."

While terminating a program that encourages higher education for poor kids, SLU simultaneously gives mass amounts of money to those who would exploit the labor of those childrens' parents. It is heartening to know that SLU chooses to perpetuate the old adage-- the rich get richer while the poor get poorer.


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