To the Editor:

The recent announcement of steep tuition hikes should give pause to those who would lavishly increase spending at Georgetown. More and more, students are being forced into heavy debt as the university’s operating costs rise. The tuition hike is understandable, as the extra money is being put to good use and will help to keep Georgetown competitive.

What is improper is that despite Georgetown’s tuition being higher than that of comparable schools, some GUSA candidates show no signs of wishing to abate this fiscal profligacy through more tempered proposals that would help keep costs steady or even reduce them. We have platforms calling for “free” venereal disease testing, which would in fact be paid for by all students, not just those irresponsible enough to need it. “Free” computers in dormitories despite widespread computer ownership and ample public computer facilities already extant. And the hiring of “free” counselors whose spouting of psychobabble would probably be of limited benefit – if not detriment – to the university community at large, especially considering the tens of thousands of dollars each one would cost to maintain.

But the most preposterous idea on the table is that of the Living Wage Coalition. Calling for a massive increase in the wage paid to the university’s contracted workers ignores several important considerations. A sensible employer does not pay the highest wage possible, but rather the lowest wage needed to prevent suitably qualified employees from leaving. Often, this is an artificially high “minimum wage”.

Georgetown is under no obligation to ensure workers’ prosperity. Rather, the workers are paid enough to ensure that they will not seek employment elsewhere and will remain fit for work.

Furthermore, the advocates of this unnecessary move are being disingenuous: a living wage is the pay determined necessary to support a family of four. Few of these workers are in this position and in any case, upward mobility usually occurs quickly. Many low-wage earners also live in households with an income well above the poverty line.

To those who would impose socialistic price controls on labor, killing job prospects for low-skilled workers and causing further tuition hikes, I hear that Havana is welcoming fresh cadres.

To would be reckless-spending candidates, I say wait for another year or institute user fees for those actually needing the services you propose. I urge sensible students to vote for John Wilson (COL ’06) and Alfred Frawley (COL ’06): they promise not to do anything, and 99 times out of 100, do-nothing politicians are preferable because at least they leave us and our wallets alone, unscathed by cockamamie schemes.

Christian Suciu (SFS ’07) Feb. 13, 2005

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