Second-class students

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They wouldn't rival protests of the '60s and '70s, but students at Nevada universities should be rallying against a couple of policies in which they are relegated to second-class status.

First is the sale of students' names and addresses to credit-card companies, among others, so the university system can earn a tidy profit off them.

The Board of Regents did next to nothing this week to discourage the practice, when it would have been a simple thing to adopt an "opt in" system for putting student names on mailing lists instead of leaving in place an obscure "opt out" system.

University officials made it sound as if it was just too difficult to try to help students avoid junk mail. The truth is, it's an easy way for universities to make money.

We'd like to see, at any future university registration, a table set up by Future Members of the ACLU, or whatever they want to call themselves, to distribute cards allowing students to remove their names from the mailing lists.

The second issue is the student-fee bailout of the Fire Science Academy in Carlin.

We've gone over this one before, and nothing changed this week with the regents -- a familiar story.

Student fees that might have gone toward new buildings and new programs will instead pay for a $31 million mistake by UNR's administration. The fire academy isn't a school, it's a trade school set up by and for private businesses.

Unfortunately, it lost money and ran into ground-pollution problems. UNR was left holding the bag, which it quickly handed over to the student body.

The excuse here is that UNR has no other ready source of revenue. The reality is that student fees are simply the easiest source of revenue.

It would be much more difficult, for example, for the UNR Foundation to seek donations from wealthy patrons to pay off the Fire Academy debt. Who would want to do that?


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