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Did Gavin Newsom Just Troll Me?

Ellen Cushing | August 28, 2013 | Story Politics

A couple of hours ago, I received an email from Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom with this subject line: “Your student loan document is ready to view.” And being a normal person who has, out of the blue, been faced with an official-sounding subject line about an extremely scary subject, from a person who's theoretically second in command for the state of California, I promptly freaked out. I started racking my brain for any memory of my last loan payment, trying to figure out what could have possibly gone wrong, and mentally sizing up my odds for that reality show where you have to answer trivia questions to get your repossesed car back. And then I open it, and:

"Sorry, I’m not trying to stress you out…but it’s back-to-school time, and for far too many California students, that means going into substantial debt. In a few years, it will mean getting one of those emails every single month."

THANK YOU FOR NOT TRYING TO STRESS ME OUT, GAVIN! GREAT JOB WITH THAT! Basically, this email—which I can only imagine was sent to many thousands of people—is just an elaborate trolling expedition. It was intended to get people like me—scared, broke people; people who spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on an education, only to learn that most Americans really don't care about the Hegelian Dialectic and really do care about getting that extra pump of vanilla syrup in their latte, thanks—to open a campaign email about the finer points of higher ed reform. Really, Gavin?!

To some degree, I get it. It's hard to make people open spam emails from politicians, which is why over the past couple years, the subject lines have increasingly come to read like either Liam Neeson movie titles or idle workday G-chats from your roommates. But I'll happily take an "Um...," or a "Hey," or an "Unbelievable," or a "Terrible News," or a "Time's Up," or even a "What You Did Last Friday" (actually that one's pretty frightening)—all actual political subject lines I've received in the last six months or so—over what feels like pretty naked manipulation.

We all know you're looking for new ways to fill your rather pointless days as the L.G., Gavin. But unless you're offering to actually pay my loans yourself, you don't have to stoop to this.

Here's the email in its entirety:

"Gavin Newsom " <>
Date: August 28, 2013, 1:03:57 PM PDT
To: **********
Subject: Your student loan document is ready to view


Sorry, I’m not trying to stress you out…but it’s back-to-school time, and for far too many California students, that means going into substantial debt. In a few years, it will mean getting one of those emails every single month.

Our higher education system is on an unsustainable path – as a UC Regent and a CSU Trustee, I see it first-hand. We all talk about economic recovery and job growth, and we all know that an educated, skilled workforce is a key component of that, but still too many of our colleges and universities remain out-of-reach – or so expensive that they cripple students’ finances and limit their opportunities after they finish school. It’s not right.

I was glad to see President Obama address the need for reform in our higher education system last week and I applaud his call for action. But what happens now that the bus tour is over and we’ve moved on to the latest headline of the week? The students starting classes this week certainly won’t see a difference. What about the ones who start college next year? Or the year after that?

If you’re ready to join me in the fight to keep our California public education institutions accessible to all, let me know! Check out my new Higher Ed. magazine on Flipboard to stay on top of the latest news, and give me your feedback on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.



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