Young conservatives say no to Prop. 4
Research harmonizes with education as rivers orchestrate to the ocean. Creating more flagship universities in Texas will inspire more students to join the industrial groups laminating the frontiers of scientific research.
Research takes time and money, both harvested from students who expect a rewarding career parallel for the sacrifices given.
Voting for Proposition 4, or House Joint Resolution 14-2, will be on the Nov. 3 ballot in Texas as a constitutional amendment. The amendment aims to fund research in seven emerging universities in the state of Texas so they can reach flagship status.
The amendment has received support from students, faculties and the public since it was first announced on the ballot. Opposition was virtually non-existent until the Young Conservatives of Texas issued an official opposition to Proposition 4 earlier this month.
YCT stands for conservative values and publishes ratings of the Texas Legislature. It announced its opposition against the amendment that would create the National Research University Fund, which could preserve the Texan educational pride.
‘In recent years, so-called ‘[flagship] research universities’ have largely fallen away from that rightful mission of educating Texas students,’ YCT Vice Chairman of Legislative Affairs Tony McDonald said.
The YCT’s argument against the proposition was outlined in a four-point form as follows:
1) Fears that the amendment will expand the role of government where it isn’t needed; 2) shifting the universities’ focus on research will harm education and increase tuition; 3) not needing the government to subsidize research.
Lastly and oddly enough, YCT argues that university research is a poor investment for taxpayers and universities’ customers.
The latter point in the argument is extremely audacious, as students are not customers of the educational system. Paying tuition is not like paying for a cute pink shirt you’ve always wanted. Students are paying for the opportunity to learn. Why is it that great universities such as Harvard and Yale have educated some of the world’s best minds?
Research is a crucial component of education. It might not be necessary for undergraduate studies, but at a graduate school level, it is essential. The best doctorate students will want to attend the best research universities. If more flagship universities are created in Texas, these students are more likely to study locally, adding to the ocean of talent in Texas.
Only the University of Texas-Austin, Texas A&M and Rice University are considered flagship schools. That YCT opposes the amendment is egotistical, especially since most members in opposition are from UT-Austin. Administration at UT receives a boatload of money from the state each year, so if teaching that is free from research distraction is so important to YCT members, why did they choose UT?
In a statement issued on the YCT Web site by McDonald, he said he ‘acknowledged that not everyone in the group wanted to oppose Proposition 4, but defended it as a group consensus.’
The majority supports Proposition 4, and even if there is opposition, it is divided. A chance for better education is knocking at the door. If we expect the education system to function correctly, then higher education should be free. If money has to be paid, then education should be worth the hassle.
Bissan Rafe is a biology senior and may be reached at [email protected]