Marshall prepares to fight budget cuts
Published: Thursday, January 31, 2013
Updated: Thursday, January 31, 2013 21:01
Marshall University Chief of Staff Adam Fridley introduced a petition concerning budget cuts to the student body Wednesday.
In August 2012, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin proposed a 7.5 percent cut in the budget for all state agencies. The Higher Education Policy Commission immediately requested that Tomblin exempt public universities and community colleges from the cut. Fridley said the governor’s office still hasn’t taken action on this request, which is what inspired him to prepare the petition. He hopes the petition will make Tomblin reconsider including state institutions in this budget cut.
Fridley said he put in great effort into researching the issues he wanted to tackle.
“It’s important that we show how educated we are about the issues we want to address,” Fridley said. “It adds to our credibility and proves that we’re not just a bunch of kids complaining about higher tuition costs.”
Among the research he has done for the petition, Fridley explained the trend over the last three decades regarding budgets and tuition rise. “States across the country have been paying less and less to colleges and universities, in turn causing the colleges and universities to raise tuition,” Fridley said. “These inflationary pressures on tuition threaten to price-out lower and middle income students.”
Chancellor of the HEPC Paul Hill said the reason for budget cuts to higher education institutions is to help close the budget gap caused by an increase in expected Medicaid spending.
“That has resulted in the governor’s call early on to prepare our state agencies, including higher education, that this 7.5 percent budget reduction would be necessary,” Hill said.
Hill said legislators will present the final bill to Tomblin and that it would determine how things work out.
“We will prepare for a new state budget on July 1,” Dr. Hill said. “So, at that point, we would know what exactly the state’s spending appropriation would be for the new fiscal year.”
Fridley said his goal for the petition is to give students the chance to speak out, stand up and be heard before the budget cut gets passed.
“So often student voices go completely unheard, mostly by our own negligence,” Fridley said. “That’s why I prepared this petition, and I really think it stands to make an impact.”
Students who want to sign the petition can do so in the Memorial Student Center.
Kimberly Smith can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.