Please, Not on My Campus...
Belligerent Students Throw a Temper Tantrum

So here's the story: A student group at Washington University in St. Louis, the SWA (Student-Worker Alliance), decided to prove how very, very liberal and cool and politically active they are by holding a student protest. Some of the unskilled workers here only make around $8.00 an hour plus benefits, but that's not enough. The SWA wants the university and its subcontractors to pay around $10 an hour to meet the proposed "living wage" for a single parent supporting two children.

For shame. The workers, of course, make the choice to work here - no one is twisting any arms. Let's also remember that no one was twisting any arms when these workers decided to start having children they couldn't support on account of their not having any work skills.

I'm not against the workers. If you aren't interested in education and will be happy doing unskilled labor, that's your choice and I absolutely respect it. Money isn't everything, and it really doesn't take much to get by on if you aren't interested in fancy living. But I do expect people to live within their means. You shouldn't, for example, buy a house you can't afford to make payments on. You shouldn't blow all your money at the mall (or on alcohol, or on fine dining, or whatever) if you won't have enough to buy groceries. If you're going to have a family, you should probably finish school and at least go through some job training so you can support it. That's common sense, right?

It's not my job to fund your poor life choices. Sorry. It's not your employer's either. Come on, how many children do they expect employers to support? If you decide to have ten, can you legitimately argue that you deserve a bigger paycheck? Should the university also raise wages if someone has a drug habit they need to support?

Anyway, that's just my view on the issue. Disagreement is fine, discussion is fine. It's even good for you. But there are standards for discussion. You don't, for example, have your Pro-Your-Position group push its way into my home or business, sit down, and refuse to leave until I start doing whatever I'm doing your way. But the SWA at Washington University have done just that. They've been having a "sit-in" in the admissions office for a week, making it impossible for the staff to do any work. They chant, rant, and yell out the windows. They even made the secretary cry.

Finally, after a week, the Chancellor (the head guy and target of SWA protests since he won't get on his knees and submit to their demands of raising wages) has decided to tell them to get the heck out. Frankly, I don't see why he waited so long. The protestors are out of line occupying private property and halting everyone's work just to get some attention. I assume that most of them believe in the democratic process - and it's not very democratic to demand that everyone do it your way or else. (news article about the protests here)

Some of the protestors are still refusing to leave. No one has been arrested so far (though the police had to break up a group of the protestors who want to the Chancellor's house and protested on his lawn), but some students face penalties including expulsion for flagrantly disregarding university rules that obviously prohibit students from throwing childish tantrums in the middle of staff offices. Expulsion is, I think, very appropriate. The protestors could have been just as visible if all of them had remained camping out in the quad (grassy area in the middle of main campus), but I suppose that wasn't immature enough for them. They had to be disruptive, to prove how very much they truly cared. Yeah, right.

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