Letters to the Editor

Tuition equity bill should pass

Say yes to tuition equity .The debate over the Oregon state budget gets more heated every year. As general funds continue to wane, I believe the best investment we can make is in higher education.

Oregon must take steps to ensure that its future workforce is not only well-educated but well-prepared to compete in an ever-changing global economy. This is the year to pass tuition equity.

Oregon is federally mandated to provide K-12 education for all children, regardless of documentation status. However, because there is no such plan for post-secondary education, our investment is going to waste.

As any college student, including myself, will tell you, the financial burden is immense. In-state tuition is already reaching record numbers and out-of-state tuition can cost up to three times as much. Many Oregon-educated students are being priced out of Oregon universities because they are being charged out-of-state tuition fees.

Tuition equity is about opportunity, investment and advancement. It's about ensuring that every Oregonian who wishes to pursue an education is able to do so, regardless of economic status.

We can no longer stand idly by as friends and family continue to have opportunities pass them by. Education is a right, and education in Oregon means increasing our state's competitiveness, it means increasing university revenue and it means building Oregon's tax base.

Now is the time for Oregon to join the 10 other states that have passed similar legislation and ensure that our original investment in all students will yield greater returns in the future.

I believe in the need and power behind this bill, not only because I don't want to see Oregon's educational investment go to waste, but because this legislation has the potential to positively impact communities across the state of Oregon, creating more engaged and active members of society. Let this be the year we pass tuition equity.

Jazmin Roque

SOU student, Associated Students of Southern Oregon University intern, Oregon Students of Color Coalition board member

Lithia Park restaurant decision was a mistake

I believe the Ashland City Council has made a regretful decision by placing large strings attached to their "approval" of the Lithia Park restaurant proposal.

As I noted in my February letter, the Storyville project was nothing short of a gift to the community in terms of gentrification, jobs, city income, Lithia Park beautification and community enhancement.

Developers are now unlikely to touch such a project, and unfortunately the area in question will likely remain a dumpy eyesore for many years to come.

Swirling around this wonderful project were a potpourri of distracting concerns, including influence peddling, ulterior motives and special parking deals. Obviously we need to hold all developers to important standards, but we should not be so uptight, conspiracy-prone and paranoid that we fail to recognize the greater good. The parking concerns were particularly over the top, especially for a section of the park which in the future might even be a perfect location for a pedestrian mall with zero parking spots (and zero emissions), a la Golden Gate Park.

I do not know the developers or anyone involved with the project, but in balance, after examining all the details and reading all the press reports, I'm very disappointed that our council has effectively discouraged the opportunity to bring a beautiful win-win to the community. From my vantage point, this was a developer who should have been courted with incentives, not discouraged by a constantly delayed, negative and suspicious process.

John Williams


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