“Fund Our Schools!” “Fund Or Fail!”
Those were among the chants that filled the Capitol rotunda today as about 450 students from all of the 14 universities of the PA State System of Higher Education converged in Harrisburg to demand full funding for their schools. After experiencing the deepest cuts in the history of the state-owned university system favored by the state’s former Republican governor, Tom Corbett. Four years of austerity and attacks on public education at all levels, students have felt the impacts on their local campuses and seem ready to stand up and say, “enough!”
[Listen to my interview on the Rick Smith Show today for my reactions to the rally right here:]
Today’s rally was sponsored by the faculty union, APSCUF. However, APSCUF President Ken Mash wanted everyone in attendance to know that it was the students that pushed for action. “Everybody needs to know that the reason we are having the rally is because we were approached by students who asked us what they could do to make their voices heard,” Mash said in his opening remarks.
Students clearly came to the Capitol to be hear. Their chants echoed loudly throughout the building:
Several students told their stories about why funding for PASSHE schools is so critical for working families and especially first-generation college students. Following the official rally, students, faculty, staff took their signs with them as they marched off to visit their state legislators personally. If today’s rally is any sign of what’s to come, change may finally be coming to the Keystone state.
Here’s some photos from the day’s events: