Vote Yes for MassPIRG

At Williams College, MassPIRG is a positive influence on campus. Many students are incensed at the notion that the money they pay “goes to Boston, mainly to pay the salaries of professional lobbyists,” as the bulletin from “Students for Responsible Activism” loudly proclaims. The announcement unfairly implied that organizations such as the Williams Democrats had publicly opposed MassPIRG when no such positions were taken. At an institution where student dues fund College Council, and tuition costs increase every year, demanding that all students pay for a non-profit, pro-environment organization is morally appropriate. The fact that the MassPIRG fee is refundable removes any question of purpose; those students who oppose MassPIRG can simply get their money back. The choice given to students to support MassPIRG is a unique one, for no other student organization’s funding on campus is held to the same scrutiny. Were College Council to allow students to collect a refund from all the monies spent on organizations people did not want to contribute to, they would quickly find themselves with a much smaller budget.

The charge that MassPIRG does not help students on campus is easily rebutted; it targets the needy in the surrounding community. Instead, our focus should be on the people and places that can truly use our support, whether it be through food drives in neighboring towns or legislation in Congress. Regardless of the $4 tax, the loss of such an organization on campus would be significant. On an already politically quiet campus, MassPIRG reminds us that as students we have responsibilities to a larger cause, that we are voting members of the United States and as citizens have political responsibilities. PIRG organizations strive to connect students from all over the country so that college students can come together and fight together for causes they believe in, to make a difference at the national level through policy changes. The solution is not to simply disband an organization because we disagree with some of its minor policies; as a whole, the ideals behind PIRG organizations are what we are voting on tomorrow. What PIRG needs to do is become responsible to each student on campus; all students on campus should have a say on the issues which MassPIRG fights for. If MassPIRG distributed a poll asking students which causes they were most interested in, and if they told students what went on at the local chapter and national meetings, students would feel a greater sense of responsibility. Williams students want to see where their $4 goes: vote for MassPIRG and then if students want changes, they should apply for a position and make a difference.

Many students are incensed at the notion that the money they pay “goes to Boston, mainly to pay the salaries of professional lobbyists,” as the bulletin from “Students for Responsible Activism” loudly proclaims. The announcement unfairly implied that organizations such as the Williams Democrats had publicly opposed MassPIRG when no such positions were taken. At an institution where student dues fund College Council, and tuition costs increase every year, demanding that all students pay for a non-profit, pro-environment organization is morally appropriate. The fact that the MassPIRG fee is refundable removes any question of purpose; those students who oppose MassPIRG can simply get their money back. The choice given to students to support MassPIRG is a unique one, for no other student organization’s funding on campus is held to the same scrutiny. Were College Council to allow students to collect a refund from all the monies spent on organizations people did not want to contribute to, they would quickly find themselves with a much smaller budget.

The charge that MassPIRG does not help students on campus is easily rebutted; it targets the needy in the surrounding community. Instead, our focus should be on the people and places that can truly use our support, whether it be through food drives in neighboring towns or legislation in Congress. Regardless of the $4 tax, the loss of such an organization on campus would be significant. On an already politically quiet campus, MassPIRG reminds us that as students we have responsibilities to a larger cause, that we are voting members of the United States and as citizens have political responsibilities. PIRG organizations strive to connect students from all over the country so that college students can come together and fight together for causes they believe in, to make a difference at the national level through policy changes. The solution is not to simply disband an organization because we disagree with some of its minor policies; as a whole, the ideals behind PIRG organizations are what we are voting on tomorrow. What PIRG needs to do is become responsible to each student on campus; all students on campus should have a say on the issues which MassPIRG fights for. If MassPIRG distributed a poll asking students which causes they were most interested in, and if they told students what went on at the local chapter and national meetings, students would feel a greater sense of responsibility. Williams students want to see where their $4 goes: vote for MassPIRG and then if students want changes, they should apply for a position and make a difference.

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