Students and professors from Pennsylvania state universities rallied on the steps of the Capitol in Harrisburg on March 28 to protest the proposed 2011-2012 budget that would cut more than 50 percent in funding of higher education schools. Students from Lock Haven University and Millersville University wanted to show their dedication to their universities by running to the capital. The Lock Haven cross-country team ran 100 miles towards the capital and the Millersville University cross-country team ran 40 miles.
The budget cuts will not only hurt the universities and faculty, but also the students.
“I wouldn’t be able to afford to come back to school. I will lose my grants and have to take out bigger loans,” Corey Wilson, a third-year Lock Haven University student said.
Second-year Justine English from Lock Haven University said she would have to take a year off and hopefully come back after she raised enough money to come back.
“My parents and I are trying to avoid student loans,” she said.
Both Wilson and English were recommended by their theater professor to take part in the “United We Stand, Underfunded We Fail” rally.
Six West Chester University students attended the event as well. Dr. Lisa Millhous and Dr. Clifford Johnston helped to organize the trip for the West Chester students. Johnston said the university would face many layoffs, cutting of programs and a loss in student services if the proposed budget were to be passed. He also said that with the proposed cut, the character of the university would change. Just to make up for the loss, the university would have to layoff many of the professors at the university.
The proposed budget will spend more on corrections facilities than on higher education. Kyle Pelchy, a first-year student, said that the increase in tuition will have a devastating effect on his education at WCU.
The budget continues to be the topic of debate and students are encouraged to be involved with the rallies. For a complete breakdown of the proposed budget, visit http://www.budget.state.pa.us to be more informed.
T.J. Cromyak is a fourth-year student majoring in communication studies with a minor in journalism. He can be reached at AC61771@wcupa.edu.