Apr 052009
Authors: Kelley Bruce Robinson

Around 200 students from state colleges in Colorado gathered Monday morning at the state Capitol to oppose the Joint Budget Committee proposal to slash state funding for higher education by $300 million dollars.

Student government officers from CSU joined the crowd with signs, chanting, “SOS, save our schools,” and singing Twisted Sister’s “We’re not gonna take it.”

“The reason why we’re here is that we are just making sure legislators don’t overextend their power with students, and that the student voice is heard,” said David Fresquez the president of Pueblo’s student government. “It’s going to dramatically affect us as CSU-Pueblo students. The tuition is going up, and that’s not going to allow students to focus on their main responsibility: school.”

Sen. Al White, a Republican who sits on the Joint Budget Committee, asked students at the rally to back a measure that would pull $500 million from a worker’s compensation fund, Pinnacol Assurance to offset the projected funding shortage.

“I see a sign here that says, ‘WTF – where’s the funding?’ and my answer to that is OMG – Pinnacol has it!” White said to the crowd. “They have excess dollars over and above everything else they need. We are asking for some small share of that to keep from cutting from you by 50 percent of your higher education funding. If you can help us accomplish that I can guarantee you, at least this year, you will be unscathed.”

From the students at CSU that attended the rally, equipped with neon-colored signs, participating left them with a sense of accomplishment and inspiration.

“(The rally) made me realize just how dedicated the students of Colorado are,” undeclared sophomore Jordan Von Bokern, a student government senator, said. “There is a lot of passion and fervor in Colorado’s students that will be wasted if people can’t to afford to get an education and affect positive change in the world.”

Multiple student government leaders from state schools spoke on behalf of Colorado students, before turning the microphone over to senators Bob Bacon, Josh Penry and White, who spoke out against the proposal.

“It was important to have the students out there for the legislators to see,”senior political science major Seth Walter said. “They (usually) hear about us through second and third sources, so I think this was really effective.”

Staff Writer Kelley Bruce Robinson can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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