President Obama’s points on higher education resonated with Temple College Democrats as members gathered to watch his State of the Union.
In his State of the Union address last night, Jan. 24, President Barack Obama agreed with the mission that members of the Temple College Democrats, who hosted a viewing party for the speech, are dedicating themselves to this semester.
“States need to do their part by making higher education a higher priority in their budget,” Obama said during his third address. In addition, the president called on universities to keep tuition prices low in order to retain federal funding.
Frustrated by tuition increases in the past few years resulting from decreasing in funding from the commonwealth, the Temple College Democrats, in conjunction with Temple Student Government, has pledged to fight back.
In addition to rallying on the state capitol on Jan. 31, Temple students will meet with state legislators in March to tell them why Temple’s education is so important to them.
Elliott Griffin, TSG vice president of external affairs, said that, in this meeting, students will focus more on personal stories rather than opinions or recommendations on policy.
For instance, Griffin applied to seven colleges and got substantial scholarships from some, but Temple remained the most affordable choice.
At the State of the Union watch party, Griffin held a sign reading: “If you cut our funding, my little brother will not be able to afford being a Temple Owl.”
Other students shared similar sentiments on their own signs.
“If you cut our funding, my school loses faculty and jobs. My degree loses prestige!” one sign read.
“If you cut our funding, I will have wasted three years of my life,” another student wrote on a sign.
Although upset by the state government’s cuts, students were encouraged by the President’s statements on higher education funding.
Jessica Cooper said, “It was the best thing all night…where do you get jobs if you don’t have education?”
David Lopez, president of Temple College Democrats, said even though the group’s mission overall is to “promote democrats across the city, state and country,” he also wants students to take interest in the general political process, as well.
Lopez said one way of doing this is to focus on social issues that relate to college students, like cuts to higher education.
Sarah Fleischman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.