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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Rabble-rousers resist reductions

    Jessica McGary, a political science graduate student stands in front of the crowd of protesters on the UA mall Tuesday afternoon.
    Jessica McGary, a political science graduate student stands in front of the crowd of protesters on the UA mall Tuesday afternoon.

    Following the Arizona Legislature’s proposal to cut nearly 40 percent of Arizona’s higher education funding, hundreds of students gathered Tuesday on the UA Mall as part of a statewide protest against the enormous budget reduction.

    Beginning at noon, students from all three state universities – the UA, Northern Arizona University and Arizona State University – protested the budget cuts by picketing on campus and dressing in black.

    “”It is shameful and a disgrace,”” biochemistry senior Trahern Jones said, who attended the protest. “”It is a pathetic situation, that leaves students with a whirlwind of feelings. What do they expect the future of this state to be? We are their future doctors and lawyers. The legislation has emasculated the future of this state.””

    Much of Tuesday’s protest was lead by the Arizona Students’ Association Board Chair Michael Slugocki, who led chants and encouraged students to speak out and sign petitions against the budget cuts.

    ASA helped organize the protests statewide, and will be working with the Associated Students of the University of Arizona for all future protests and petitions on the UA campus, Slugocki said.

    “”We are really trying to gather student support,”” he said. “”At this point, it is hard to understand just how detrimental this will be to us all. This is just the start of our process, this will be going on throughout the entire semester and during the legislative process.””

    Picket signs reading “”No to 40 Percent Cuts,”” “”R.I.P. Higher Education”” and “”Where Do Arizona State Legislators Send Their Kids to School?”” were handed out to attendees by ASA and ASUA.

    Picketer, and psychology and spanish junior Prita Tandyasraya chanted “”no to cuts”” and “”yes we can”” along with the crowd during the protest.

    “”This is so scary because the numbers are unimaginable,”” Tandyasraya said. “”This is all preliminary, we haven’t even seen the effects yet.””

    A common feeling expressed by Tuesday’s protesters was the fear that many affiliates of the university will not understand the detriments of the cuts until they begin to take effect.

    “”The detachment of the governing body from the governed is a historical paradigm,”” chemistry senior Justin Keogh said. “”This really has to hit home for people, otherwise they won’t do anything about it.””

    “”The numbers are there, the people are here and people say they get it, but once the cuts really start happening then people will really get it,”” Jones said. “”I just wish people could see it for what it is now.””

    Arid land resources graduate student Kanin Routson expressed fear for the future of graduate teaching assistantship programs that he said are vital to helping students get through school.

    “”We’ve already seen severe cuts. Now this,”” Routson, said. “”Now those (programs) are in danger of being completely removed. Our classes are already too big, and our learning environment is slowly becoming worse each semester.””

    Although the future of the budget cuts is uncertain, Slugocki said the protests will not cease until something is done about the future of Arizona’s education.

    “”I want (the legislators) to see the face of kids that already have sky-rocketed tuition, that will be forced to get full-time jobs to pay off loans they might not be able to get, and to be in debt only to get a less-quality education,”” Slugocki said.

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