Letter to Editor & President Rao

President Rao visited this year's first SGA meeting to discuss his goals for the university with students, including his strategic plan, Quest for Distinction. Photo by Briana Townsend.

President Rao,

Didn’t you raise tuition fees by 2.5% last year?

You do realize that VCU has a) the highest rate of student debt in the state of Virginia and also b) the highest graduate unemployment rate in the state of Virginia? Since most students subsidize their education through predatory student loans— and since most students can’t expect to make more than about $10/hour after graduation— you do realize you are adding $358 of their promised, future labor? that they can’t expect any profit off of? So you are giving each student an entire 35 hour work week where they take absolutely nothing home because you want to further inflate the administration and install that big screen onto the windows of the library. The library which-— by the way—  receives no percentage of the library fees on overdue books, whose expansion was basically just the creeping outward of the privatized Starbucks, who has 65% of their books not even in the stacks but in off-campus storage.

Aside from how you plan on exploiting the future labor of your present students, VCU unabashedly exploits local workers. You have your employees serve you coffee for poverty wages. The school system at large is planning to shut down eight schools this year. Every raise in tuition costs is only further increasing the barrier for poor black kids to attend this college that dominates over their austerity-stricken city. Every increase in tuition is a literal decrease in accessibility. Every dollar you add to the tuition only continues the legacy of white supremacy in Virginia.

How much do you get paid, President Rao? How much does your Board of Visitors CEO posse pass onto you? Why is all of your data on diversity already seven years old? Are you seven years old?

Best,

Sarah Rupp

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