News & Politics

Graduate Students Stage Walkout to Protest GOP Tax Plan

Whatever happened to the notion that being a college student means being poor? For generations, college students understood that the sacrifices in the interim paid off in the long run. Furthermore, those who didn’t have the drive, ability, and fortitude to last were weeded out, and the job market was the better for it. However, today’s generation of students is so used to being pampered their entire short lives that they expect everything to be easy. Case in point: this past Wednesday graduate students staged a walkout to protest the GOP’s proposed tax plan.

“[The tax plan] is going to be disastrous for higher ed,” said Jack Nicoludis, a Harvard graduate student in chemistry who helped organize the campus protest. “Graduate students already struggle to get by and this will just be another factor that dissuades people from getting Ph.D.’s.”

NPR also spoke to students at the University of Maryland who “said they felt like the tax plan treats them like trash, and they wore garbage bags to a rally.”

Nat Baldino, a third-year Ph.D. student at the university’s Department of Women’s Studies, has already had to take out student loans to pay for basics such as utilities and rent.

“There’s a misconception that grad school and academia in general is this sort of lofty enterprise,” Baldino said. “We already don’t get paid a livable wage – and as someone who is a first-generation college student, I already came into graduate school with tens of thousands of debt from undergrad.”

“If this bill were to pass … I don’t know how I would live,” Baldino said.

Let’s begin with the fact that Nat Baldino is in the “university’s Department of Women’s Studies.” That clues us in that she already assumes that everyone else owes her a free ride through life while she produces nothing of value, except possibly her “protest sign” making skills. Her self-centeredness is further revealed in that as the first member of her family to attend college, she chose to major in a field that will not provide a better path into the future for her family. Finally, I’m not sure what she means when she says that grad school is widely to considered a “lofty enterprise.”

While I respect those who work hard and earn a spot in grad school, I also assume that they are subsisting on ramen noodles and that their furniture is almost entirely made up of milk crates and wood pallets. At least, that’s the way it was when I was in college. My friends who suffered through the lean years of college almost all now own their own homes and have plenty of disposable income.

The long-assumed trajectory from poverty-ridden college student to comfortable, if not well-off, adult is not good enough for the SJWs that populate college campuses today, though.

One grad student complained to NPR that all he receives is “$20,000 a year in exchange for working as a history instructor.”

Even though the student, Jonathan Brower, lives at home with his parents (Brower, probably not incidentally, is in his 7th year as a Ph.D. student) he is “often down to pennies before his direct deposit hits.”

After telling the sad tale of Jonathan Brower who, like basically all college students since the invention of college, has very little money in his bank account, NPR warns, “The [GOP tax plan] would tax the value of student’s free tuition – meaning students like Brower would have to pay taxes as if he made $40,000 a year.”

Did you catch that? The “free tuition.”

The grad students who were protesting this past week were able to walk out of classrooms because other taxpayers are footing the bill for them to be at college to begin with. I wonder how the grad students would feel if those taxpayers walked out of their jobs to protest having to pay the tuition for spoiled brats?