College students rally at state capitol

students protesting

Students from Southeastern joined together with students from other Louisiana
schools to put an end to education state budget cuts.
Currently there will be an estimated 1.6 billion shortfall to the budget for higher education. 
The Lion's Roar / William Schmidt

University students from all over the state rallied together on the footsteps of the State Capitol with one goal: to get legislation to stop budget cuts to higher education. 

The Higher Education Demonstration took place on the third day of the state Legislator’s 2015 session, Wednesday, April 15. About 150 students from different schools set aside their differences and participated to voice their concerns with the estimated 1.6 billion shortfall for higher education. 

Students not only showed concern for the current budget crisis, but also they were also thinking of the future. 

“Higher education is a really big deal to me. After I get a degree, I am totally getting another degree,” said sociology graduate student Paul Strickland. “I think everyone should have an opportunity for higher education.”

Students at the demonstration were also concerned their future careers may be affected by future university budget cuts. 

“The reason that I came to this demonstration was because higher education plays a very important role. Not only am I a student, but my parent works for the university,” said senior general studies major Regan Cascio. “I want to go into higher education administration. Without the proper funding, I won’t be able to accomplish that goal.”

Nursing is one of the programs offered at Southeastern that feels the pressure of budget cuts. To show their support to stop budget cuts, nursing majors wore their scrubs to make a statement of how important the higher education fund is. 

“We know the nursing program might be one of the programs cut if they take more money out of Southeastern’s budget,” said senior nursing major Danielle Frey.  

Nurses have the ability to change lives, but they need the education to help change those lives as well as to become a nurse.

“There is already a nursing shortage,” said senior nursing major Alivia Stewart. “We are here. We are going to change your lives, but you have to help us change ours. We just have to get these education cuts gone.”

Though Southeastern students wore their colors showing their Lion Pride, they stood next to rival colors with pride.

“To me it was really beautiful [that all the universities came together,]” said Cascio. “In reality, we are all competing for funding. The fact that we were able to come together, despite being rival schools, it was really amazing.”

StephanieTravis, current Student Government Association President, took on the task of organizing the rally for Southeastern, and other university Student Government Presidents were pleased with the overall turnout and diversity of university representation.

“I think it’s great [that we are coming together,]” said University of New Orleans Student Government President David Teagle. “There is a lot of competition between these schools, and not just in athletics, and they are putting this aside and fighting for each other. When the student body presidents get together, I am pretty fond of using Benjamin Franklin’s quote, ‘We all hang together or hang separately,’ which is basically if we fail to fight for each other, then nobody will be left to fight for us. That has been a unifying cause for all of us. We are trying to look out for each other across systems and universities.”

Though university students have returned to their studies, legislation continues. To learn more about the Louisiana legislation, visit legis.la.gov.