In order to advocate for fair-funding for the Commonwealth’s state-owned universities, students, alumni and faculty from the Pennsylvania state universities are preparing for a rally to be held in Harrisburg on Monday, Feb. 8.
With the event being organized by the Association of Pennsylvania State College & University Faculties (APSCUF), West Chester University’s Student Government Association President Gary Prince is looking to bring awareness to the issue on campus and get students to join the rally.
“Tuition is going to be raised by three percent, state universities are going to have their funding cut, and state pensions are being frozen. So you have costs going up but funding going down,” said Prince.
Plans proposed by the state capitol include flat-funding, state-owned universites and long-term, performance-based funding. Flat funding, as opposed to providing funding in a rate proportational to the increase in students, will maintain the previous funding levels. Rather than providing more funding per student, costs for new students will be taken from existing students.
Prince, a senior and communication studies major, learned of the effort to keep the state universities from being underfunded from the Board of Student Government Presidents, which is made up of the SGA presidents from the 14 state universities. The issue was discussed at their November meeting, and plans were set in motion for the rally when the spring semester started. However, the inclement weather has slowed down efforts to gather resources and raise awareness.
“It’s been pretty difficult to rally the troops,” said Prince. “Because of the snow storm, we haven’t even had an SGA meeting yet and our only source of recruitment is through email and social media.”
Though APSCUF is organizing the event, Prince said that the union group made it clear that they were simply providing the resources and transportation so that students could be the main focus.
“They made it clear that they didn’t want to be solely in control of this,” said Prince.
He is not sure of how many students from other schools will be going to the rally, but Prince says that he is currently expecting somewhere from 50 to 60 people from WCU to attend.
“We want to create a big uproar the day before the budget for next year is released so people can see how much it’s affected last year’s budget,” said Prince. “A lot of people don’t know what’s going on, and that’s the biggest problem I’m seeing. But just having people there together and showing solidarity will show what we are trying to accomplish.”
The rally will be held from noon to 2 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 8.
Transportation will be provided via buses, which will be departing from the Swope Music Building front parking lot at 9:15 a.m.
Those participating are encouraged to be on the bus by 8:45 a.m. and to wear campus colors and gear. Free lunch will be provided.
Dylan Messerschmidt is a third-year student majoring in communication studies. He can be reached at DM837837@wcupa.edu.