State students will protest Friday at state capitol
By Megan Wiseman
January 20, 2009 | LOGAN -- Budget
cuts to Utah State University are going to be a worry
to students, faculty and alumni alike, says the executive
vice president of ASUSU
If the Legislature passes its proposed
plan of a 19 percent cut, which includes $30 million
and more than 600 jobs cut over six months, the loss
will affect not only students currently attending USU,
Jackson Olsen said. Those who have already graduated
will also feel the impact and will need to worry about
the value of their degree.
To combat the Legislature's proposed
budget cut, Olsen and ASUSU members have been working
with others at the university to put together a rally
at Capitol Hill Jan. 30. They hope to persuade the Legislature
to pass Gov. Jon Huntsman's proposed plan, an 11 percent
cut that would amount to $17 million and more than 300
jobs cut from USU in the next two years.
Olsen said the university had to
go through the logistical steps of obtaining a permit
from the State Capitol and the Utah Department of Public
Safety to hold a protest. He said that it is important
to show civil disobedience and to take these precautionary
steps to show those at the Capitol that USU students
are serious about their cause.
After getting the permits, the next
steps were to get USU's presence formally recognized
by the House and the Senate on the floor, and then create
an agenda with a line up of speakers, Olsen said. The
president of Snow College, Scott Wyatt, who is a former
Aggie student body president, Salt Lake legislators
Brian King and Christine Johnson, and North Logan legislator
Jack Draxler are all scheduled to speak on Friday, he
Once this formal process was complete,
Olsen said that the next step was to get students involved.
"The hard part is now getting
the word out, finding people and getting them to commit
to going," said Olsen.
To try and get as many students involved
as possible a rally was held in the Hub on Wednesday,
with President Stan Albrecht as the keynote speaker,
as well as "dorm-storming" at night to get students
in on-campus housing involved, petition signing, and
a sign-making party scheduled for tonight at 9:30,
"We're hoping that anywhere
from 300-1,000 students will show up in Salt Lake,"
said Olsen. "We want to have as large of a presence
as we can. We hope that after the Legislature sees all
the steps that our students have taken, they will embrace
the Governor's proposal and abandon their own plan."
USU won't be the only university
with students present on Friday. Every higher education
institution, every college and university in Utah will
have some presence at the rally, Olsen said. Even BYU
and Westminster, which are private institutions and
won't be affected by the budget cuts, have plans to
attend and give their support, said Olsen.
Utah State has gained a lot of respect
on Capitol Hill over the last couple years, said Olsen,
by traveling down to the Legislature to fight for things
such as research funding and tax-free textbooks. He
hopes this respect will work in USU's favor, but despite
the outcome of Friday's rally, he said the Legislature
will at least still have respect for USU and its students.