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Morning Sun
  • FIRST IN PRINT: PSU student government has its own Day on the Hill

  • Members of Pittsburg State University’s student government spent Monday at the Capitol in Topeka, meeting with legislators to express their concerns and lobby for higher education.

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  • Members of Pittsburg State University’s student government spent Monday at the Capitol in Topeka, meeting with legislators to express their concerns and lobby for higher education.
    The 14-member delegation joined student groups from the other state universities governed by the Kansas Board of Regents. They met with State Reps. Bob Grant, D-Cherokee, Terry Calloway, R-Pittsburg, Jerry Williams, D-Chanute, Richard Proehl, R-Parsons, Doug Gatewood, D-Columbus), and Senators Bob Marshall and Dwayne Umbarger, among others.
    Student government association president Eric Jones, a senior in finance and economics from Weir, said the presidents of each of the student governments n the  Regent’s system decided collectively on a day to meet in Topeka.
    “We decided February 6 was the best date to get together to lobby for higher education,” Jones said.
    One of the main issues, Jones said, was the state’s role in funding higher education. Tuition continues to rise as states increasingly cut funding for their universities. Students are graduating with more and more debt, and finding fewer and fewer jobs to allow them to pay off what they owe.
    “There’s an increasing level of student debt in the state and across the nation,” Jones said. “State funding is decreasing, so tuition is going up, and we feel there is no need for further higher education cuts. State’s need to keep education as inexpensive as possible.
    “It’s crazy to look at the fact that 10 years ago the state funded 70 percent of students’ tuition. Now it’s almost fifty-fifty,” he continued. Students shouldn't have to pay for more than 50 percent, since that's a service the state is providing.”
    The students also expressed their concern over House Bill 2353, which would allow concealed to firearms to be carried on state or local facilities — including Kansas college campuses — unless they provide security.
    “We’re all in agreement there does not need to be conceal and carry on campus,” Jones said. “You have to put a guard at every building. That’s 300 plus entrances at PSU alone.”
    The students also expressed their support for the proposed polymer research degree program at PSU, which Gov. Brownback allotted $500,000 in his proposed 2012 budget to establish.
    “We told them we really would appreciate them keeping that line item in the budget so we can further Pittsburg State and other programs,” Jones said.
    Aside from a disagreement with a local representative about HB2353 the visit went well, Jones said.
    “Everyone was very well-received and greeted by every legislator we talked to,” Jones said. “They would say ‘We understand where you’re coming from and whether they were for or against an issue. In general they were very receptive and understanding of our concerns.”

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