The Arizona Desert Lamp

PIRG fights for lower tuition, proposes increase in student fees

Posted in Campus, Politics by Evan Lisull on 14 February 2009

From a source that wishes to remain anonymous, it would seem that PIRG is jumping onto the student fee bandwagon:

Hello *******,
My name is Lisa and I’m with the Arizona Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) on campus. ArizonaPIRG is a student-run and student-funded organization that addresses pressing issues in the community and gets students involved to make real legislative change. Right now we are working to get funding on campus by adding $1.50 per student per semester to the election ballot, and we are looking for student support to make this possible. With funding, our organization would be able to grow and thrive and benefit the entire student body. We are looking to get an endorsement from *******. If you would be able to meet with me before next Wednesday to discuss this possibility, I would sincerely appreciate it. Please let me know what your availability is.

Thank you,
Lisa Winston
ArizonaPIRG Endorsement Organizer

Obviously, there’s much more to say about this — but for the moment it’s worth pointing out that (a) It’s absurd to pretend that AZPIRG, an arm of an organization founded by Ralph Nader, is nonpartisan in any meaningful sense of the word; (b) it’s preposterous for the organization to demand more money than ASA, a lobbying effort which focuses directly on student interests (rather than increasing CAFE standards and effectively banning local toy production); (c) for an organization that claims to take on, “powerful interests on behalf of Arizona’s citizens,” it has a funny way of appealing directly to the campus elite in order to drum up support.

For now, though, just read Radley Balko’s takedown of the PIRG scam.

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7 Responses

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  1. Jimi Alexander said, on 14 February 2009 at 11:05 am

    But we already have one group of in-house, ineffective lobbyists!

  2. […] also highlighted how the “feeing” has only just begun — already, PIRG and President Shelton have lined up at the fee trough. Judging from reports around the country, […]

  3. […] Fee-seeking P.I.R.G. made off with $637.78 for two registration fees and plane tickets to attend a leadership […]

  4. […] groups cannot campaign until the signatures have been verified by the Commission, which would make this email highly suspect. The email, which we received on February 14 (some valentine that was), also […]

  5. Justyn Dillingham said, on 9 March 2009 at 11:44 pm

    I’m a bit alarmed that people have taken to referring to this as “Ralph Nader wanting your $2.” I can’t find any evidence that Nader has anything to do with the current incarnation of PIRG; the original organization he founded in 1971 appears to have been very different. (Surely Nader’s taken enough unmerited abuse in the last eight years without being accused of stealing college kids’ money.)

    • Evan Lisull said, on 10 March 2009 at 12:11 am

      Quoting from the Oregon Commentator:

      “To win back its funding [in 1999], OSPIRG pulled out all the stops, including getting ol’ Ralph Nader himself to come speak on campus. It’s a tactic the group has used time and time again: when threatened, put on a big show to convince students that it actually does something for campus. And because of students and student government’s general lack of institutional memory, it works.”

  6. Justyn Dillingham said, on 10 March 2009 at 11:24 am

    I’ll amend my statement to say he doesn’t have much to do with the current incarnation of PIRG. Getting someone to come speak isn’t evidence that they’re running the show. Minus any such evidence, I think Balko’s contention that Nader himself is “scamming college kids” is reckless in the extreme.


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