SGA plans capital rally

Ashlee Clark

Students will be carrying a load on their backs next week in Frankfort.

Student governments from across the state – including Western’s – will rally for more higher education funding on Feb. 5 at the state Capitol.

With the possible slogans “Don’t Balance the Budget on Our Backs” and “Higher Education is a State Investment, Not a State Expenditure,” SGA and the other students at state universities are prepared to address the recent budget cuts at the rally.

“Our hope is that we can influence our legislature to fund higher education at an adequate level,” SGA President John Bradley said.

The Board of Student Body Presidents is asking students attending the rally to wear backpacks to make sure they stand out, he said.

Bradley said it may be “unreasonable” to expect changes in the budget situation this year, but rallying now can affect the future.

“We hope that in the future, higher education isn’t used to balance the state’s budget,” he said.

SGA will be in the rotunda of the Capitol at 2:30 p.m. to listen to guest speakers, including Chris Pace, chair of the Board of Student Body Presidents.

SGA and other student governments have made appointments to speak with legislators from different regions of the state, but SGA still hasn’t received any responses back on who they will be speaking with, Bradley said.

“We need to let them know that education is the future of our state,” said Pace, the SGA president at Northern Kentucky University.

Sean Teskins, chief of staff for the SGA at the University of Louisville, said they are speaking to different student groups to encourage students to attend the rally.

“Hopefully, we can send the message to the governor and legislators that higher education is not just another expenditure that the state makes,” Teskins said.

SGA Vice President Patti Johnson said there are 47 spots available for people to join SGA in Frankfort.

At last week’s SGA meeting, $650 was approved to be used on transportation to Frankfort.

SGA will try to get more transportation if there are more people interested in attending the rally, Bradley said.

“We certainly want a lot of students to go,” he said.

Faculty and staff are also welcomed to come, Bradley said.

In other business

• The proposed new SGA constitution could not have its second reading for the third time because two-thirds of congress members were not in attendance.

• A straw poll was taken on the proposed Internet fee. Seven members opposed the fee, 11 were in favor of the fee and eight abstained.

• The dates for spring elections have been approved. Potential candidates will meet on Feb. 17 and the deadline for filing to run is March 2. Elections will take place March 16 and March 17.

Reach Ashlee Clark at [email protected]