Humboldt State University students are more than capable of managing and operating many of the campus services formerly provided by the University Center without this corporation's multi-million-dollar bureaucracy. ("HSU Ends Agreement with University Center," Dec. 21).
Returning institutional knowledge to HSU is important, however, student leadership can begin reversing decades of corporate policies contravening California's Education Code. For example, the University Center claims its employees can be fired "at-will" while Education Code Section 89900c guarantees employees' due-process rights (reducing corruption by reducing fear at work).
To increase enrollment, HSU invested $300 million expanding sports and leisure venues, elite locked-gate housing, a grocery store and library lattes, adding to the University Center's empire, providing international entertainers, ski-junkets to Bend, Oregon, and numerous off-campus ventures that circumvent the Education Code's restrictions to serve only "essential university operations."
HSU's equivalent of "Club Med" not only attracted hundreds of wealthier students and community participants, it requires them, greatly magnifying every recession's impacts, just as our privatized healthcare system is designed to best-serve its wealthiest patients, bankrupting average families and producing the world's highest number of epidemic fatalities.
As HSU expanded its "resort," numerous classes and entire degrees were eliminated; experienced professors were early-retired; classrooms became overcrowded; card-locks and "blue-light" emergency stations poorly substituted for nighttime janitorial staff that HSU terminated (long before the 2008 economic collapse and COVID-19).
Whether it's public education, healthcare, prisons, the military, pharmaceuticals, immigration, energy or the public airwaves, privatization has been disastrous, adding layers of legal hurdles in holding government accountable for incompetence, inefficiency or corruption.
A worldwide epidemic requiring many years of economic recovery should dissolve decades of excuses denying students the opportunity and necessity of operating and managing campus services to develop the skills, confidence and experience needed to cope with unpredictable future challenges.
George Clark, Eureka