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SGA Chief of Staff fights for fair funding

By KIMBERLY SMITH
On April 11, 2013

Adam Fridley, chairman of the State Advisory Council of Students, is on the agenda at the Capitol, Thursday, to go to bat one last time for students attending public higher education institutions in West Virginia. Earlier this year, the State Advisory Council of Students started a petition asking the legislative and executive branches to exclude public schools from the proposed $34 million in budget cuts.
Our elected officials have indicated that they intend to place the burden of the states shortfalls on the very individuals who will be entrusted with the future wellbeing of our great State, Fridley said. As a result of these cuts, our colleges and universities will have no other option than to raise our tuition, yet again.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin informed all state agencies this year that they should plan for a 7.5 percent cut to their respective budgets. Fridley said it could mean around a $5 million cut in Marshalls budget.

Fridley, along with other members of the council, has been trying to fight the cut since February. He drafted the petition, which outlines reasons higher education should be exempt.

This continued cost shift onto my fellow students and me has resulted in increased student loan debt, the pricing out of less fortunate students and even decreased classroom performance as a result of more students being forced to work part or full-time in order to pay for their degrees and living expenses, Fridley said.

Senate Education Chairman Robert Plymale introduced the petition in the Senate Monday. Although the submitted draft contained 1,900 signatures, the official number accepted was 1,788.

Its no surprise that students are unified against tuition increases, Fridley said. The purpose of this is to show that students have taken an interest in this process and are not going to take these proposed cuts quietly.

Fridley is set to present at the 2 p.m. Senate Education meeting this Thursday. Additionally, Fridley has sought out meeting times with leaders from both parties, in both chambers of the legislature.

Its important that we reach out to our leaders and let them know where we stand, Fridley said. Were out of options and quickly running out of time.

Fridley is also Chief of Staff under the current Ray Harrell Jr. administration.

Harrell, student body president, said he is very pleased with Fridleys efforts in advocating on behalf of all of college students in West Virginia.

I feel that his persistence with our state leaders and his extensive knowledge on the subject shows that our students are taking an active effort in this process, Harrell said.

Kimberly Smith can be contacted at smith48@marshall.edu.

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