Murray State students organize march for higher education

KJ Hall

Students at Murray State University will not let Gov. Matt Bevin’s recently proposed budget cuts for higher education slide by unnoticed. 

With Gov. Matt Bevin’s proposal, there would be a 9 percent reduction from postsecondary education allocations over the next two years. Bevin has also issued an executive order of an immediate 4.5 percent cut to university operating budgets before the end of this fiscal year, June 30. 

“It’s just such a lousy idea. I don’t see how it could possibly go through,” Emily Ferguson, a creative writing major and junior at Murray State who has helped take the lead in organizing the march, said. “But I knew that as students, we couldn’t just sit behind our desks and hope the outcome wouldn’t be bad.”

Ferguson, along with other Murray State and University of Kentucky students, intend to show Bevin their opinion on these budget cuts in the form of a peaceful protest in Frankfort this Thursday, Feb. 25 at 10 a.m. They are calling this protest the “March for Higher Education.”

Kevin Binfield, professor of English at Murray State, took a class period at the beginning of February to explain to his students, including Ferguson, what the budget cut situation is, how it works and what that would mean for Murray if it came to fruition. 

“If you could get 10,000 students to Frankfort…” Binfield said, and the students went from there. They do not have quite 10,000 students, but they are confident they have enough to make an impact, Ferguson said.

Students have pitched in to make signs, hang up posters, share the Facebook page and advertise by word of mouth. Students have also volunteered to drive and contact their friends at other universities about the march.

The Murray State Student Government Association and administration, as well as those at other universities, have been helpful and supportive in their efforts, Ferguson said.

Ferguson, and other students, are also not alone in fighting against Bevin’s proposed cuts as other school and university officials are also taking a stand.

Jefferson County Public Schools Superintendent Donna Hargens said in an “email blast” last Friday, Feb. 19, that Jefferson County Public School’s supporters should call their state lawmakers and ask that the state Department of Education be exempted from Gov. Matt Bevin’s proposed budget cuts, according to the Courier-Journal.

Ferguson is expecting to see students from all over the state at the March.

Students will meet at Kentucky State University on Thursday morning, and will march from there to the capitol. Students will wear their respective university’s gear, bring signs and will sit outside the Capitol for most of the day, Ferguson said. They will perform periodic skits, recite poetry, play music, and have student speakers to talk about the issues at hand.

“I think the March for Higher Education is a great way to show the Kentucky state government that college students are educated and aware of what is happening, and that we don’t like it,” Alexis Keith, a communications major at WKU who hopes to attend the March, said.

Ferguson agreed that the goal of the March is to show Gov. Matt Bevin that Kentucky college students are informed of what he plans to do and disapprove of it wholeheartedly.

“We hope that by showing up and caring, and proving that we voters disagree, that he and the legislators will see that the proposed budget is a bad idea and consider revising it,” Ferguson said.

More information regarding the event can be found on their Facebook page: