Here's why we, as Americans, should care about the #FeesMustFall movement

Here's why we, as Americans, should care about the #FeesMustFall movement
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| September 21 2016,

08:30 am

As I was scrolling down my Twitter feed during my Asian Cinema class, I noticed that an account I follow tweeted out the hashtag #FeesMustFall2016.

Not knowing what to expect, I clicked the hashtag only to see a plethora of live tweets, commentary, videos and updates on an ongoing protest happening at the University of the Witwatersrand, also known as Wits University, with regards to the fight to prevent tuition increases at some of the main universities in South Africa.

After having to fight through special security and being told to leave if they can't afford to pay for their schooling, the Wits students prevailed and continued to find ways to have their voices heard.

As a media junkie, I had to ask myself: Why is it that I'm just hearing about this movement? It's been going on for almost a year, and it wasn't until recently that I heard about it.

Maybe I was missing something. And it could be my fault for not taking the time to expand and consume media beyond just the publications I read often. But at the same time, I think that media in general has a responsibility to ensure stories like these are told extensively and more in-depth.

Although the #FeesMustFall movement isn't necessarily happening in the United States, tuition increases happen annually here as well. So it's a relevant topic, and the media should definitely bring this event more to the forefront. As a fourth-year student attending a private university, cost of attendance has rapidly increased. We're paying up to $60,000 per year, not necessarily knowing where and what our funds are going toward. 

And that's information that universities across the globe refuse to share with students, adding another layer to the social responsibilities of both the media and universities to this demographic. Because of the 3.9 percent increase in tuition, myself and other students have experienced a huge run-in with the Bursar office. They're steady asking us for money, but we're constantly wondering why is it that our financial aid continues to decrease and our debt increases.

Not only that, but the hikes in tuition affect the diversity of students that are able to attend private universities. According to an International Business Times article
, the more tuition goes up at these kinds of institution, black and brown people are more prone to consider attending school elsewhere.

This is why the fight for more affordable and accessible education is so important. There's a divide along race and class lines, both in South Africa and the United States, and there's no reason any student should be denied their right to pursue their passions at a dream university due to a lack of funds and resources. And it's time for the media worldwide to focus on issues like these, because they affect us all.

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