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The Northerner

Students to lobby in Frankfort for funding

Emily Chalfant

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Hundreds of Kentucky college students are expected to rally at the Kentucky State Capitol Feb. 5 to protest the recent higher education budget cuts.

The Student Government Association and TeamNKU encourage Northern Kentucky University students to attend and tell legislators to “invest in higher education.”

Free transportation will be provided to students who meet in the University Center at 6:30 a.m. that morning.

After arriving in Frankfort, students will have the opportunity to speak with legislators throughout the morning. Following lunch, the rally will begin at 2:30 p.m.

Joe Mills, the student employee for the Office of Community and Government Relations, said NKU unofficially started the rally.

Joe Myers, SGA vice president for administrative affairs, called other higher education schools to organize the rally, which is sponsored by the Kentucky Board of Student Body Presidents.

The date for the rally was not selected randomly; Mills said legislators in Frankfort are planning to discuss higher education that day.

He said it would be “icing on the cake” to have student demonstrators there to show their opposition to a tuition increase.

While other colleges will also experience tuition raises, SGA members said it is especially important to have NKU students at the rally.

Mike Tobergta, a SGA senator, said there seems to be a “stigma that NKU is part of Cincinnati, not Kentucky,” which he said might explain why NKU receives less funding than other Kentucky colleges.

Sheree Davis, another SGA senator, said legislators need to acknowledge the impact NKU has had on the Northern Kentucky economy and take into consideration that NKU has seen a growth rate of 20 percent over the last four years.

A letter will be sent to NKU organization leaders and the NKU community to raise awareness about the rally.

SGA hopes at least 100 NKU students attend.

Last year 60 students and 15 staff members from NKU attended a similar “March on the Capitol” with other college students that also had the intention of lobbying for higher education funding.

Students who wish to attend the rally can RSVP by calling the SGA office at 572-5149 or sending an e-mail to Chris Pace at pacech@nku.edu.

Mills said the deadline to sign up is the morning of the rally.

Free T-shirts will be given out that will read “Show me the money” on the front and “Don’t balance the budget here” on the back.

Students unable to attend are still encouraged to help by e-mailing or calling Northern Kentucky legislators to voice their concerns; contact lists of Kentucky legislators are available through TeamNKU.

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Students to lobby in Frankfort for funding