The United States has begun its ascension into the holiday season, where warmth, joy and thankfulness are expected to reach an all-time high. Although people feel this coercion of gratitude, it is still imperative that we reflect on our lives. Personally, I can not help but see a greater amount of societal ills disproportionate to the glee this season is meant to evoke because of increased rates of homelessness (I am writing this currently homeless), soaring tuition rates, lack of affordable healthcare and widespread food insecurity, all of which are factors of poverty.

According to the Economic Policy Institute, the gap between the wealthy 1 percent and the rest of us has been increasing since 1928. Unequal income distribution is the main cause of persistent poverty. This is maintained and upheld through manmade social classes and institutions that we forget should also serve the underserved. Is it not only fair that we demand the wealthy 1 percenters to forfeit unnecessary amounts of hoarded wealth and reallocate the money to counter acts of poverty? Many national estimates qualify 1 percenters to make a salary of at least $420,000- $440,000 per family, per year.

Public records show that in 2018 Texas State University President Denise Trauth has a ridiculous salary of $525,000. Trauth has the second highest annual paycheck at TXST after the head football coach, a position that takes an even greater salary of $635,000 per year. These abusive incomes allow poverty to exist. What if instead of striving to feast on food we can’t afford for the holiday season, we feast on the salaries of these fat cats that have been consuming too much? Imagine how much more human we can make this institution if portions of these incomes went on to provide resources and services for the greater body of persons rather than leeching off struggling students.

Texas State University has about 39,000 students. At least once a day, a student like us will commit suicide. We struggle with suicidal thoughts because we live in poverty. Many of us have witnessed a friend or relative attempt suicide. We try to be there to prevent one. There are currently only 23 counselors at TXST. This designates one counselor to 1,696 students, meaning they can’t afford quality time with students.

We demand that Trauth and other overpaid staff relinquish their 1 percent status and instead direct it to the betterment of students and this institution. Denise Trauth must return at least 31 percent of her excessive pay to hire at least three more counselors. The next head coach must reimburse a greater percentage. No one should make negligent and irresponsible salaries. Until these demands are met, I refuse to be thankful and you should too.

– Sabrina Chapa is a geography senior

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