Editorial: PASSing up unity

State-related students need to be on the same page and be prepared to rally strong.

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.

1 Comment

  1. I think you might have missed the point and confused some of the facts. History does have a tendency to repeat itself, so instead of putting so much work into coordinating a rally that may send the wrong message, as they have in years past, doesn’t it make more sense to wait the two weeks between the original rally date and the release of the budget? More time to organize an effective rally that promotes a more positive message about what the state-related schools bring to Pennsylvania, as well as to see the actual projected cuts, couldn’t possibly hurt. And in regards to the “regionalized” rallies, I think you’re confusing them with the concept of sending small groups of student leaders from each university to speak to the more influential leaders of congress, or maybe the PR initiatives we’ll be working on, all together, throughout the year.

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