The Pennsylvania Association of State-Related Students held its conference last weekend, Nov. 10-11, at Temple, but instead of a conclusion of unity, representatives came away with a sense of division, as other schools expressed a need for more regionalized rallies.
For the past two years, PASS has held a Rally for Higher Education at the State Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa., bringing the four state-related schools — Temple, Lincoln University, Penn State and the University of Pittsburgh — together in one centralized location to stump for funding for public higher education. This year, however, the rally is in jeopardy as Pittsburgh and Penn State argued for more regionalized, smaller rallies on or near the schools’ respective campuses.
While it’s understandable that these schools would have difficulty making the trip to Harrisburg because of the grueling commute, it’s inexcusable that these schools would argue against a rally that brings all four state-related universities together in a showing of unity among Pennsylvania schools when fighting for higher education funding.
Pittsburgh and Penn State’s representatives also argued that meetings with legislators should be a higher priority. While these meetings are extremely important and vital to the funding of higher education in the state, they serve a different purpose than the loud, public statement made by the rally.
Temple’s Senior Vice President for Governmental, Community and Public Affairs Ken Lawrence said: “Unless you are going to have a good rally, don’t have one.”
The Temple News concurs that the rally must be well organized and deliver a large crowd, simply not having a rally is unacceptable.
Although the governor hasn’t delivered a proposed appropriation for the state-relateds for the next fiscal year, and won’t for a few months, history has a tendency to repeat itself; PASS should be prepared to act if cuts are again proposed.
The cost of travel is trivial when compared to the cost on students’ wallets that could ensue if their leaders aren’t prepared to speak up.