Students protest higher education cuts - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Students protest higher education cuts

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By Tyana Williams - bio | email

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - It was an "SOS" from the steps of the Louisiana Capitol. Hundreds of college students said Gov. Bobby Jindal is spending too much time out of state when he should be concentrating on looming cuts to higher education.

The rally for higher education brought in students from all around the state including Grambling, Lafayette and New Orleans. The billion dollar budget shortfall has students and staff of public institutions worried that this round of cuts could kill them.

They came carrying creative signs with slogans like "Ignorance costs too much money."  They came with chants and questions. At one point "Where is Bobby?  Where is Bobby?" became the rally cry.

Jindal was at the rally, but not in his official capacity. Pictures of Jindal as the joker and plastered on a milk carton suggesting he is "missing" from Louisiana.

"He cares more about presidential ambitions than about our state," said Christine Day, a UNO professor.

Students from the University of New Orleans organized the rally. Calling for Jindal to open the communication lines before he slices public education.

"Prioritize education to a point they can put their money where their mouth is," said Southern University student, Demetrius Sumner.

An estimated 500 students from various Louisiana schools joined together to rally support. Some wore band-aids showing higher education will never heal.

Demetrius Sumner said Southern University Baton Rouge is looking at roughly $15 million to cut, and that amount is after the school was asked to take part in a 35% budget reduction exercise.  "We're looking at cutting degree programs, classes, class offerings, services...essential services like mowing grass," said Sumner.

"If you destroy higher education, it's going to take you years and much more money to rebuild it," said John Minceo, from UNO.

The governor's press secretary sent out a statement that said Louisiana has the second lowest graduation rate in the south. Kyle Plotkin, the press secretary also said, "Students and taxpayers are not currently getting the value they deserve from our colleges and universities."

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