Students "March as One" to oppose cuts to higher education

Students "March as One" to oppose cuts to higher education

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Students from across the state demonstrated loudly at the Louisiana State Capitol on Friday afternoon. They gathered there to make sure lawmakers know there will be consequences if they decide to cut funding to higher education to fix the state's $900 million budget deficit.

LSU President F. King Alexander stressing, enough is enough.

"We've had 13 cuts in nine years. Nine have been mid-year. This is mid-semester," Alexander said.

Some students are taking the threat to their education personally.

"We made the right grades. We made the right choices, and we even came to the best schools. We've done our part. So, why is it that we are being penalized," Kendra Davis said.

State Representative C. Denise Marcelle warned students they could see cuts so deep it could force universities to cut classes and some college campuses to close. She also added, funding for the free tuition program, TOPS, could be suspended.

"Believe me, it is real. Nothing that the governor said to you guys is fake, phony, or a scare tactic. It is actually where we found ourselves today," Marcelle said.

Representative Pat Smith joined her and other state leaders in encouraging everyone who is against cutting higher education to get to work.

"You need to be on the phone. You need to be emailing. You need to be Tweeting every single legislator who is in this building," Smith said.

Raising revenue has been proposed by many as one avenue to sparing higher education from cuts and saving the state from a budget crisis. But students are urging lawmakers to take it a step further.

"I don't want to be here next year doing the exact same thing. It is time for the legislature to stand up and make a long-term budget solution," Zach Faircloth said.

Another student rally is scheduled at the capitol next Wednesday at noon.

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