MU students flood the capitol to protest higher education cuts

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Members of the University of Missouri student government spent Tuesday roaming State Capitol hallways distributing more than 6,000 protest letters from students on the Columbia campus.

The letters implored Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon and members of the General Assembly not to cut as much as 12.5 percent from the state higher education budget.

Student organizer Steven Dickherber said he and his peers fear that further state budget reductions will trigger a drastic decline in the quality of education at the university. The state already reduced higher ed funding by 5 percent last year.

“My biggest fear is that something like our veterinary school, or our medical school, or law school – programs that we aren’t required to have – are going to lose funding,” said Dickherber.

He said members of the Missouri Students’ Association coordinated the letter writing campaign, assembling the more than 6,000 letters in less than a week. He said similar efforts are also underway on the MU’s Rolla and Kansas City campuses.

“Our goal is to have the legislature draft a budget with a smaller cut to higher education,” said Dickherber. “We’re not naive enough to believe that the cut is going to be completely eliminated.”

Nixon faced heavy criticism last month when he first proposed cutting $106 million from higher education funding to help balance the state budget. He has since proposed reducing those cuts, using $40 million in funds recently acquired by the state as part of a national settlement with the country’s five largest mortgage providers.