Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
May 30, 2024

Students must continue activism

November 18, 2013

Last week, the Editorial Board lamented a new fee that had been imposed on Intersession classes. The fee was discreetly created and poorly advertised, which made for a nasty surprise when many students first saw it on the Intersession website. Worse still, at $250 it would have priced some students out of taking courses they were otherwise excited and eager to explore. Even those who could afford it might have felt guilty paying for classes outside their major requirements, spoiling their curiosity and defeating the worry free, no-strings-attached learning atmosphere that makes Intersession such an enjoyable experience.

This past week, nearly 1,000 Hopkins students banded together and signed a petition asking the school to revoke the Intersession fee. They were successful: The University sent out an email on Friday to announce that the popular three week program was once again free of charge (at least, as free as anything can be on a campus charging $45,000 a year).

The Editorial Board thanks the University for revoking the fee for all the same reasons we articulated in last week’s editorial. But even more so, the Board applauds the student body for its effective activism in the face of an issue they cared about. It is uncertain how much the petition contributed to the University’s eventual decision, but its rapid growth very likely played a role in hastening the University’s need to address the situation. In the past, the Board has criticized the Hopkins student body for being apathetic and unwilling to organize, so it was a refreshing change to see so many students band together and speak out.

We implore Hopkins students to continue speaking out and advocating for a change in the future — and not only as an after-the-fact reaction. It’s a big world out there, and there are a lot of issues that deserve our collective attention outside the Hopkins bubble. The lesson from the week’s events is that when we join forces and work together, we can promote meaningful change with surprising speed. Now that we’ve discovered this power, doesn’t it create a responsibility to do more? Take it as a challenge; let’s see what we can do.


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