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Skewed lobbying agenda

Fine print expresses University intentions

The Battalion

Published: Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 21:07

Never fear, Aggies. Tuition rates may be out of control and half of 2010 graduates across the U.S. may still not have a job, but we are sending a lobbying group to Washington D.C. to fix it all. It's called Big 12 on the Hill and its stated purpose is to lobby for legislation that will help A&M and other Big 12 schools.

The Texas A&M University Student Government Association will graciously fund this trip, which will occur March 24-27, mere months before we cease to be a part of the Big 12. Not to worry though, they'll probably be pandering for some generic legislation that promises to give more funding to higher education or maybe a token endorsement of the importance of higher education.

To apply, one needs to provide the usual: a résumé, letters of recommendation, a paragraph detailing qualifications and, most importantly, a writing sample about a current piece of legislation regarding higher education. That seems reasonable.

 

But don't miss the disclaimer at the bottom of the application.

"This is not the arena in which to express your political preferences or opinions. The sole purpose of this lobbying trip is to advocate for higher education legislation that will benefit college students, not only here at Texas A&M University, but also at universities across the Big 12."

That's right. Don't think that a lobbying group sent to Washington D.C. is designed to express your opinion or political views to the most political place in America. Don't consider this an opportunity to have your voice heard. Organizers don't want your opinion or political preferences. They just want what is best for A&M, and there is certainly no difference in opinion — political or otherwise — on that subject.

Let me interpret this for the masses.

They want a few bright shiny faces — preferably a stereotypically diverse mix — to say exactly what the University or Student Government Association wants.

We can at least applaud their honesty.

Be damned if you think the federal government has done more harm than good when it comes to higher education and don't even whisper that soaring tuition rates are due to easy money provided by federally backed student loan programs.

Be damned if you're upset the federal government is ruining the student loan market — student loan debt is almost $1 trillion — by funding education in subjects that could never repay loans.

Be damned if you don't think the federal government should be slaves to lobbyists, whether representatives of big oil, green energy, Wall Street, unions or higher education.

They don't want your opinion. They want lackeys who look good to push for policies they won't tell you about up front.

Never fear though. This is all for the betterment of A&M and its students. That is, whatever they think is better for us.

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