I'm feeling rather disheartened at the moment. News came on Friday that the Arizona legislator wants to reduce state funding for higher education by 16% in their plans to help alleviate some of their debt. That would amount to a 25% reduction in funding available for the U of A. Let me repeat that...1/4 of the funding for the U of A will be stripped away. A very discouraged president Shelton made an emergency speech to the university yesterday after learning the news.
Why am I so disheartened? Well, not only will our school have to make some very drastic decisions like cutting programs out completely, but this also has some deeper overtones. It sends a very strong message about what our values are in this country. With these new cuts, prisons will be receiving more funding than education in our state. That, my friends, is very sad. In addition, the state will be cutting funding for books and other educational supplies from k-12 and eliminating daycare programs. I think you can probably guess my opinion on that.
As worded by president Shelton, "These figures are so extreme that they would absolutely cripple higher education in our state. At the very time that our state needs to stimulate the economy, the Legislature is talking about absolutely devastating cuts to the most powerful economic engine in our state....Crippling cuts will also severely compromise our state's future, so much so it may never recover. Our legislators must realize the long-term consequences that are not easily reversible, such as lost business, work force and related revenues. To not acknowledge this is not only poor public policy, it's irresponsible and unconscionable."
In reaction to this, students are staging a protest on campus Tuesday to help garner media attention and show the legislature that this is a bad mistake. Anyone who feels compelled to attend is welcome:
Campus Wide Protest Against Higher Education Cuts
When: Tuesday, January 20 between 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm
Where: The UA Mall in front of the Memorial Student Union
Bring your posters expressing your opinions, wear black shirts to signify the death of higher education and bring as many of your friends as you can. The greater the numbers, the stronger our message. Members of the media have been invited to attend, so show the Arizona Legislature that the student voice is stronger than ever!