Welcome back :-) As the old saying goes, the more things change, the more they stay the same. This past Thursday, the conglomeration of San Francisco newspapers published a story about UC Berkeley students' going on welfare and to food pantries:
More than 500 UC Berkeley students have applied for food stamps since January, up from 111 in all of 2016, and just 41 the year before, said Michael Altfest, spokesman for the Alameda County Community Food Bank, which helps students fill out the forms. Last year, food bank representatives showed up once a month to help the students. Now they have to come every week to meet the need.
Not all applicants qualify. This year, the acceptance rate is 73 percent, up from 62 percent in 2015, Altfest said.Three years ago, state lawmakers passed AB1930 to make it easier for students to prove eligibility for food stamps. But it’s taken a few years for the ripple effect to hit.A University of California survey of 9,000 students across all 10 campuses shed light on the need in 2015: Nearly 1 in 5 students, 19 percent, said they had too little to eat “due to limited resources.” Another 23 percent routinely ate substandard food with little variation.Suddenly, the phrase “food insecurity” — from poor nutrition to outright hunger — became a campus buzz word, and not just on UC campuses.Aware that some low-income students are stuck on campus during school vacations, Stanford University will keep a dining hall open during spring break for the first time next semester. California State University is working to get each of its 23 campuses equipped with the technology to accept food stamps, which have been provided electronically using debit cards since 2004.Community college students are especially challenged by soaring housing prices — the two-year schools typically offer no student housing — so on Nov. 9, City College of San Francisco trustees voted unanimously to begin developing a program to help students who are chronically homeless and hungry.At UC, President Janet Napolitano announced in 2016 that she would spend $302,000 over two years at each of the 10 campuses to expand food pantries and register more students for food stamps through CalFresh.
Going hungry isn't a choice. However, attending a UC or even Stanford is. We have great, relatively inexpensive community colleges here in California....
While I consider it untoward for some of the most privileged people on the planet--students who attend UC schools, who do so partly on my dime--to cry poverty and go to food pantries, if the food pantries are charitable, I have no actual complaint. I might question or ridicule, but I won't complain or fight. When I have to pay for it, however...wait, isn't that what I'm doing with food stamps? So I'm paying for their "elite" education as well as their food? Are these people even adults?
If she wanted to ensure that UC students can afford to eat, perhaps Napolitano should find ways to cut the cost of a UC education rather than turning students into beggars.
I have many quotes on the wall of my classroom. One of them says "A sense of entitlement and one of gratitude cannot occupy the same space." I think it applies in this situation.