Letter to the editor: A response to columnist’s criticism of college students


While I understand Chronicle columnist John McCroskey’s points, and respect his right to them, I feel like he is missing a couple key points about students and social changes.

Mr. McCroskey ascribes the addition of alternatives to the Bar Exam to lower-quality education. As an autistic pre-law student with test anxiety, I can say that, were I to change career paths (I like my office) and continue to law school, my autism would not get in my way of being able to become an attorney.

By providing alternate methods (none of them are “easy” — in fact, for many people, they might be harder than the bar exam, which will also be offered), I believe disabled people have better chances of becoming attorneys.

“Nothing about us without us” becomes much easier when we can become professional advocates because a barrier has been lifted.

Having grown up in Seattle in the age of World Trade Organization protests, and numerous other protests, most protests are peaceful. However, there are some people who wish to stir up trouble. They are almost always unaffiliated. Protesters requesting food and water is nothing new. In the 1970s, disabled activists occupied federal buildings for equal rights. In San Francisco, the mayor provided medical resources, showers, air mattresses and more. McDonald’s donated food, which the Black Panthers cooked.

Many universities do not have drinking fountains outdoors. The University of Washington only has drinking fountains inside. A university providing water means protesters do not have to enter buildings, potentially causing disruptions.

My grandmother was heavily involved in Model Cities (an urban renewal and anti-poverty program) and other programs in Seattle’s Central Area, at the time, largely a low-income neighborhood shaped by redlining, with virtually no investment from banks. She worked for a Central Area credit union that received Model Cities funding, and gave microloans, credit counseling and other resources. If there is anything I absolutely learned from my grandma, it’s that some people just need a little extra help, and that almost all of them will use it well.

Because of my office job, I am attending college comfortably. Not every student has that luxury. I am able to juggle work and school because of paid vacation hours through my employer. Not everyone is that lucky. As a working student, I appreciate your recognition that college is expensive. Some people need to juggle multiple jobs with school. Others get trapped in student loan debt, only to discover that wages are down, or their college turned out to be fraudulent.

Student loan forgiveness has potential to help a lot of people.

Because student loan forgiveness is a political issue (instead of an economic issue), I feel like I should point out that I am a moderate conservative-leaning Libertarian. While I do not believe in excessive unjustified taxation, I believe that if many people benefit from government help, that taxes going to it is an acceptable use of tax dollars. Since tuition is unlikely to be capped, loan forgiveness seems like a good stopgap measure.

I hope this helps.


Nick Bodemer

Mountlake Terrace