rally at state capitol 'extremely successful,' organizer
February 2, 2009 | College students from across the
state flooded the steps of the Utah Capitol Friday morning
for a rally designed to show Utah state legislators
that they will not take budget cuts lying down, said
Jackson Olsen, ASUSU executive vice president and organizer
of the rally.
From as far south as Ephraim and north to Logan, students
showed up to rally against a 19 percent budget cut which
is being proposed by the state legislature, and by doing
so, showing their support for the 11 percent budget
cut proposed by Gov. Jon M. Huntsman, Olsen said.
"I thought the day was extremely successful, both
because we were able to get so many students to turn
out from across state, and also because we sent our
message successfully to the Utah State Legislature,"
Students from USU, Snow College, Southern Utah University,
Weber State University and more were present at the
rally, many of whom held protest signs showing their
distaste for the proposed 19 percent budget cut. Some
students from Snow College brought umbrellas to urge
legislators to dip into their rainy day fund instead
of cutting the budget for higher education, Olsen said.
While students protested on the steps of the capitol,
various legislators were given the opportunity to speak
to the excited crowed, all of whom supported the student's
"Universities are the solution, not the problem,"
said Scott Wyatt, president of Snow College and a former
Wyatt went onto say the budget cuts may help the initial
problem, but the long term effects would make Utah worse
Shayla Michel, a math education major at USU, said
she felt part of something bigger than herself on Friday
and enjoyed being able to protest for a cause she felt
"At first I was a little anxious about missing class
to come down, but then I decided I'd rather miss one
day of class than have to stay at school three extra
years," she said.
Michel said she felt encouraged and supported by all
the speakers and considered the day a success.
"Scott Wyatt's speech was very inspiring and he confirmed
my presence here," Michel said. "This was nice after
[USU President Stan] Albrecht's speech where it sounded
like we could just take the cuts."
Even with he success of Friday's protest, Olsen said
there is still a lot to be done to persuade legislators
of the importance of reducing the budget cuts. Many
legislators, although sympathetic to the cause of preserving
higher education, are stuck between a rock and a hard
place because cuts have to be made somewhere, he said.
"The battle isn't over. We will be going back down
to state Legislature, but not necessarily in a rally
form. We will be going down and testifying before the
higher education sub comity, We will be meeting with
legislators one on one, and continuing to write letters,"