Rally attendees should follow up with Frankfort

Last Thursday, 12 Western students missed their classes to join about 300 other students to rally against budget cuts. The students filled the Capitol rotunda and voiced their concerns by holding signs and shouting chants.

We commend the Western students and others who attended the rally. They showed legislators they were aware of the issues and how to affect change. Being in the middle of the Capitol certainly caught their attention. It was an effort that complemented well with university administrators lobbying at their “Higher Education Day.”

But while it’s easy and fun to yell phrases like “Don’t balance the budget on our backs” and “No tuition increases,” students who attended the rally need to take the next step. President Gary Ransdell said students ought to follow up by writing and calling legislators.

We agree. If those students contact legislators consistently and inform them again and again why higher education should not be cut, they will see that students are not doing this as a one-time protest thing, but will get the message that higher education cuts are a valid concern for Kentucky students.

Writing letters or making phone calls will also be a chance for students to say more in-depth why it’s not good for those in Frankfort to balance the budget on higher education’s back. A change to let legislators know how these cut will impact students.

Students, give legislators something to think about besides those catchy chants. And if you don’t feel that these legislators put forth their best effort to help higher education, then be prepared to voice your opinion by not voting for those legislators in the next election.

But this effort should not be on the backs of the small group of students who attended the rally. Western students who stayed at home should voice their concerns,too. Don’t like that there’s not enough parking spaces? Well, if Western doesn’t get enough money, they won’t be able to add many more spots. Sick of classes being filled up too quickly at registration? Well, if there’s no new money, the university won’t be able add class sections.

It doesn’t do anybody any good to complain to friends or other classmates.

Write or call your legislators. Representatives in the Western area include House Speaker Jody Richards, Rep. Stephen Nunn, Rep. Roger Thomas, Rep. Rob Wilkey and Sen. Brent Guthrie. Their addresses and phone numbers can be found on the General Assembly Web site, www.lrc.state.ky.us.

Voters elected these legislators because they felt these people would represent them best in the General Assembly. Students should not lose the opportunity to be represented properly when they make their final decisions about the higher education budget.

This editorial represents the majority opinion of the Herald’s 9-member board of student editors.