Advocating against budget cuts in higher education in Pennsylvania must go beyond the Feb. 15 Harrisburg rally.
Many can argue whether Corbett is the right man for the job, but that does not matter now. What matters is what Gov. Corbett plans to do in the future, and it appears his plans could affect Temple in a major way.
There have been whispers, rumors and fears swirling about that have manifested into reality: As it was reported in the Philadelphia Inquirer on Jan. 31, budget cuts seem to be on the horizon.
The Post-Gazette reported on Jan. 31 that Penn State University, Temple University, Lincoln University and the University of Pittsburgh receive $690 million in state funding. Considering the governor wants to cut $4 billion to $5 billion out of the state budget, some Temple students are beginning to wonder its impact.
I feel our tuition is high enough, although state officials may not agree with me, especially after these newfound budget constraints. But ultimately, if students agree on this tuition issue, it is up to them to be responsible citizens and voice their concerns.
Temple Student Government President Natalie Ramos-Castillo said she believes the cuts are inevitable.
“There are going to be cuts, so the only thing we can do is advocate for our own behalves,” Ramos-Castillo said.
TSG and the Office of Government, Community and Public Affairs has organized a trip to Harrisburg today for students to voice their opinions.
“[Government officials] need to support our generation,” Ramos-Castillo said. “We are the future of America.”
According to an Aug. 25, 2009 CNN.com article, the United States is lagging behind other nations in its students’ proficiency in math and science, and it seems as if today’s politicians don’t care.
Education has been perceived as a commodity, and it seems to be increasingly easy to cut out of state and federal budgets.
Matthew Sick, a freshman university studies major, said he is particularly worried.
“Education is already so expensive, but I can only imagine that the university is going to feel pressured to raise tuition cost,” Sick said. “I only hope that when I fill out my FAFSA, this rise in tuition will be taken into account.”
Perhaps the problem is, as Ramos-Castillo put it, that “state legislators don’t hear from our generation,” so instead they make decisions that could be detrimental to our future.
These cuts could make school an even larger financial burden, taking away different extracurricular programs from Temple and possibly affecting different departments.
“We are registered voters, and we deserve to be counted,” Ramos-Castillo said.
Perhaps the only way to do this is with our physical presence.
I urge all Temple students, and students at state-related institutions, to not sit idly by. Yes, you can grumble and groan to each other and act upset quietly, but that does not help anyone. Let your opinion be known.
It’s OK if you could not go to the rally, but now is the time to call your representative, write Corbett a letter, register to vote and do anything else to get your voice heard.
What pains me the most is not the action of the governor – although that hurts me quite a bit – but the inaction of our generation.
We need to realize our voices are just as powerful as those who came before us; we have as much of a stake, if not more, in this country than anybody else.
Phillip McCausland can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.