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Forgivable debts

The idea that one has a moral obligation to demand a living wage for University workers is simply false. Jason Hickel made the argument ("A hard bargain," Feb. 10) that to receive a University degree "in good conscience," one must push for increased wages. What Hickel and many others in the Living Wage Campaign do not understand is that many students cannot afford an increase in wages.

If the University were to increase wages, tuition would also increase to pay for these wages. In his guest column, Hickel asserts that "as University students, you are on the privileged side of social inequality in Charlottesville." University students, however, graduate with an average of $19,384 of debt. I find it hard to believe that a group of people with more student loan debt than the average household has credit card debt ($15,799) can be expected in any way to pay more in tuition. To say that an individual is morally obligated to pay for higher wages when they themselves are in the red is ridiculous.

I will acknowledge that there are some who can easily afford the University's tuition. Nevertheless, it is not accurate to generalize and consider every University student to be "privileged." If people with this level of income desire helping out University employees, I encourage them to voluntarily donate to workers in need. This way, those who can afford to pay more will be free to do so and those who cannot will be able to pay for tuition.

Dylan Brewer\nCLAS II\n