The politics of college

Ahh, college… Four (or more) years of unapologetic adolescence, all-nighters, memories to last a lifetime and good old-fashioned politics. Wait, what? Did you say PA-LUH-TICKS?

Yes, in college you are surrounded by politics. The member in your organization going behind your back to get a position you wanted. The guy next to you in class rehearsing his lines to ask for your number. The professor who seems to be impartial to someone in your class and doles out favors to them rather than you.

Politics has a way of working itself into all avenues of life. From college, to family, to work – you find some form or fashion of politics.

In fact, there is a “real” side of politics that will effect your time in college more than the subliminal forms discussed above. As a member of a public university (meaning JSU is supported by tax dollars), you are subject to the “real” side of politics every day and you might not even know it.

In Alabama, there is an ongoing debate over what to do about struggling state budgets. The Education Budget funds JSU and all other public education institutions. The General Fund Budget funds everything else that the state oversees: roads, bridges, prisons, police officers, etc.

The General Fund is approaching dire straits as it is not collecting enough revenue to sustain its programs. This has led some state politicians to discuss the idea of combining both budgets. So, who cares? Right?

Wrong. You care! If this happens, guess who loses? The Education Budget, for the gain of the General Fund. This means JSU’s share of the proverbial pie becomes jeopardized. Thus, less funding for JSU.

Guess who gets to make up the difference when there is less funding for JSU? Unfortunately, most of the time, it is the students—through tuition. Now, do you see what I mean about the politics of college? It really is everywhere. And it can really affect your bank account.

This is just one example of how politics personally impacts your years in college. So, what do you do about it? You’re making progress now by reading the news. You have to pay attention to what’s going on to know how you’re being affected politically.

The next step is—you guessed it—you have to vote! Luckily, there is an opportunity to do just that coming up in less than nine weeks. On November 4, 2014 there is an election for statewide and local offices in Alabama. Included in those races are the ones who decide on how to manage the state budgets—remember the Education one?

Over the next few weeks, I will do my best to clue you in on the latest in Alabama and (when relevant) national politics. My challenge to you is that you take the information seriously, form your own opinion and go to the polls to express it!

Brett Johnson
Staff Writer

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