Letter from the Editor

I’m disappointed that the proposed Pavilion expansion could cost Whatcom students in tuition fees.

But I’m more disappointed that I’m only just hearing about it now.

Like a lot of others, I took the Pavilion expansion survey. Mine was handed to me directly by a member of the student council, and I still didn’t hear word one about tuition hikes.

Some readers will remember I was opposed to Whatcom spending millions of dollars on the gym even before I knew that it would be paid for largely with borrowed money and that, ultimately, it would be students footing most of the bill.

But I’m not going to repeat why I think the expansion is an unnecessary luxury expense that Whatcom can’t afford right now.  Instead, there’s this:

The role of government in a democracy is to serve the interests of its people. Certain governments have certain agendas, but our vote is still the deciding factor. The student council’s agenda is to spend a surplus of funds on improving Whatcom’s Pavilion. Simple enough.

But what about our vote?

Last quarter 80% of students who were surveyed checked yes to spending surplus money on the expansion. The council told us how desperately we needed a better gym and that the whole thing was “practically already paid for.”

But the reality is that the council surplus represents only a paltry portion of the funds needed for such an enormous undertaking. And, when the vote was taken, students were not told the whole truth. They weren’t given a choice, weren’t asked to weigh pros against cons. They were given advice on how to vote by members of a council with an agenda.

I imagine some students will feel much differently about the way they voted once they discover the cost. Sure, a new and improved gym sounds terrific by itself. But how many of us want to pay for a better gym with money from our own pockets when nearly every student service is being cut from the budget?

I’ve gone on and on about this. But the choice isn’t mine; it isn’t the council’s. It’s all of us. As students, we endorse the council and ask only that our best interests are served.

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