Students, faculty hold rally outside Hyer Hall today

About 40 students, faculty and staff members attended a rally at noon today outside Hyer Hall in response to the the state senate and assembly’s legislative action in recent days.

The P.E.A.C.E. organization on campus hosted the event in collaboration with Assistant Professor Eric Compas and Professor James Winship.

Several students and staff spoke at the rally. Sophomore Bryant Plank, a political science major, spoke about the specifics of the budget-repair bill.

Professor James Winship speaks at the rally. Photo by Michael Gouvion.

Plank said he read the entire 80 page document and several things stood out to him.

“The most important thing is just that $900 million for public schools,” Plank said. “I mean, that’s a lot of money to take away from public schools. The only way you can make up for that is by cutting all the activities and by cutting teachers, things like that.”

Compas, who was one of the first to speak, said this is a “blatant abuse of power.” He told the rally to not make democracy a “spectator sport.”

Plank said he thought the Democrats did the right thing by going to Illinois to not let the bill pass.

“It was the only legitimate option that they had,” Plank said. “It was just going to be pushed down their throats without anybody getting a chance to read it. Obviously, in the past three weeks to a month we’ve had a lot of time to study the bill and learn what’s really in there.”

The consequences of the potential budget changes could mean a 10 percent rise in tuition for students, Plank said.

Plank said these changes affect any student, any teacher or any family that has a public service worker.

There are many different ways the budget could be fixed than how it is proposed to be fixed right now, Plank said.

“I don’t think it’s bad to take funding away from certain things but $900 million from one spot is a lot of money,” Plank said. “If you could kind of take away a couple of things from here and there or from everywhere, share the burden on everybody. Obviously, we understand we’re going to have to give up something in a time like this.”

Winship said this is a classic case of the bait and switch. Winship compared it to a television store advertising a specific television for a certain price and when the consumer arrives at the store, they switch the consumer to a more expensive television.

To see video from the rally, check back with the Royal Purple this weekend.

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