Cal Poly student demands less tuition, more diversity

A California Polytechnic State University student claims she is thinking about selling off superfluous organs after learning of a proposed tuition increase.

In an op-ed for the Mustang News Monday, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo junior Erica Hudson argues that she is “absolutely fucked,” complaining that she has watched her student loans “soar into skies I’ll never be able to skim the surface of.”

Complaining that she is already trying to balance two jobs and a social life with her studies, Hudson describes an annual exercise in which she researches the possibility of selling her eggs to pay for school, but claims that the logistical difficulties involved have led her to consider other organs, like a kidney or pinky toe.

[RELATED: CSU students stage die-in to demand lower tuition, diversity funding]

The target of her ire is the proposed Sustainable Financial Model for the CSU system, which calls for annual increases in tuition and fees as part of a strategy for dealing with reductions in state funding, though a report from the SFM Task Force also recommends boosting enrollment by allocating additional dollars to financial aid.

Hudson argues that “if the money from my wallet was going to our teachers, it would make sense,” but asserts that “instead, it’s going to an endless list of administrative positions that we simply do not need.”

Her most damning criticism, though, relates to Cal Poly's alleged failure to sufficiently embrace her homosexuality.

“I’m lost because I’m at a university that hardly acknowledges, or cares for, my queer existence, as reflected in our curriculum, campus climate, and administrative support,” she laments. “Lost attending a school that claims to care for diversity, but shows little-to-no meaningful support in facilitating a diverse learning environment, and either tolerates hate-filled opposition to diversity or allows it to be swept under the rug.”

Hudson then goes onto to mock San Luis Obispo’s moniker as the “Happiest city on Earth.”

“More like the straightest, whitest, frattiest, ignorant, hegemonic city on Earth,” she counters mockingly. “But hey, be happy! We have the Farmer’s Market and Spring Stampede to look forward to.”

Yet according to the last census, the city of San Luis Obispo is 81 percent white, whereas Cal Poly is 58.5 percent white, with Latino/Hispanic students making up the second-largest demographic at 14.3%. The whitest cities in the United States, according to Priceonomics, are Portland, Oregon and Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Recounting the warnings she received from friends before enrolling that Cal Poly is a “really conservative school,” Hudson goes on to claim that the university “isn’t just a conservative school, it is a dead one,” because “the students here don’t care about diversity. And if they do, they are either passively sitting along with the oppressor or they are silenced and ridiculed.”

[RELATED: Cal Poly looks to mandate cultural awareness training]

“Do you think once you leave here with your increasingly meaningless college degree that suddenly the understanding of how fundamental diversity is just going to punch you in the face?” Hudson asks incoherently as she concludes the op-ed. “That isn’t how the world works. Support diversity. Support our teachers. Support your fellow Mustangs. Oppose the Sustainable Financial model.”

The San Luis Obispo Tribune reports that the CSU Board of Trustees has not yet set a date to vote on the SFM proposal, but a spokesperson for the Trustees did pledge that there will be no tuition increases either this year or next year, ostensibly in deference to student concerns.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @elias_atienza