Contract Ed offers competitive edge to the rich

My problem with Contract Ed ordeal derives from the method with which it was approved, the violence unleashed upon the students for demanding their right to be involved, and a few trustees’ disregard for the opinions of the very students who would be affected on the matter. Since then, we’ve made some progress, but the strides in students’ rights and communication don’t change the fundamental ethical violation of introducing a two-tiered education plan. The Board of Trustees previously held the notion that technically, since the contracted classes would not be replacing any of the courses SMC was able to offer but rather supplement them; that they create no disadvantage because the students buying into them are not taking the slots of the regular classes. A key problem here is that this isn’t exactly true: while in terms of enrollment a student wouldn’t be competing with someone able to afford Contract Ed during their term at SMC, when they transfer an important comparison would be made: who ‘took’ the classes, and who didn’t. The Contract Ed courses would look identical to regular SMC ones, therefore when we apply to transfer, our transcripts will show who took the available classes and who didn’t.

Normally summer/winter enrollment is a matter of personal initiative and enrollment priority based on the monetary-neutral factors. However, wealthier students would now be able to forgo the latter factor. When UCLA compares you—someone who tried to enroll, couldn’t, and can’t afford contract ed—with someone who tried and failed to enroll in regular classes but could afford the priority, they’re going to see who managed to get and complete the class. Not only would the wealthier students be able to complete their coursework sooner, but they would also look more competitive for completing a more vigorous schedule (not laced with ‘breaks’ from semesters you can’t enroll in).

Jasmine Jafari is the Vice Chairperson of the Inter-Club Council.