A rag-like red bracelet hangs from the wrist of Associated Students of CSU Director of Legislative Affairs Matt Worthington as he sits at his desk in the ASCSU office.
The bracelet is a symbol of solidarity for students who have taken an active role in allocating more state funds to the decreasing budget allocation for higher education.
â€œWeâ€™ve reached the hour of decision for students,â€ Worthington said. If students donâ€™t get involved now, he said, they are exposing themselves to further tuition increases and a lower quality of education.
Worthington is the leader of todayâ€™s Higher Ed Campus Rally, which is being put on by the entire ASCSU office.
The rally will take place at noon on the Lory Student Center Plaza and will include speeches from students and CSU professor John Straayer. Also, slam poets Ralph Lazo and Kim Ford, also known as Infinity, will perform at the rally.
CU-Boulder, the University of Northern Colorado, CU-Denver and 10 other campuses in Colorado are having similar rallies today at noon.
Adday Naoum, the director of Diversity and Outreach for ASCSU, has gone to various classrooms to inform students, collect signatures and build support for the cause.
ASCSU has collected more than 1,300 signatures and more than 1,000 people have committed to volunteer for the cause.
â€œWeâ€™ve officially become the worst state in higher education funding: 50 out of 50,â€ Naoum said.
Naoum has a bleak outlook on the options facing CSU if the university cannot get more funding. One option, cutting funding for programs and departments or shutting them down entirely, has been implemented already, he said.
The two more options, he said, are the privatization of CSU, and closing down other schools to have a smaller pool of higher ed for the state to provide funding for.
â€œFor students right now, you go to a public university that can change in five years,â€ Worthington said.
â€œPrivatization will make this unaffordable, and thatâ€™s not what this school is founded on; weâ€™re a land grant university,â€ Naoum said. â€œThe only solution to this problem is a change in the state legislature, reassessment of the stateâ€™s budget and a reallocation of stateâ€™s fund to help higher education.â€
Guadalupe Davila, a freshman animal science major, came to CSU for the vet program and for a chance at grad school.
An out-of-state student from California, Davila admitted she is not completely aware of the crisis.
â€œIâ€™ve heard the school might close down, and we need more money,â€ Davila said, â€œIâ€™m really paying a lot. I donâ€™t need to pay a lot more.â€
Matt Wortingtonâ€™s goal for the rally is to inform students of the current higher ed crisis.
â€œItâ€™s a test for students thatâ€™s not on anyoneâ€™s syllabus,â€ Worthington said, â€œbut itâ€™s a test weâ€™re going to have to pass if we want a worthy system of education in Colorado.â€
Staff writer Ryan Sheine can be reached at email@example.com.