Students write to discourage education cuts

[Hammond, Louisiana] – Southeastern Louisiana University’s Student Government Association and Southeastern Sociological Association conducted a campaign earlier this week encouraging students to write letters to the Louisiana Legislature.

Stephanie Travis, president of the Student Government Association, offered a blank page to students entering the Student Union and asked them to take a moment to compose a letter discouraging the proposed higher education budget cuts of $141.3 million. The SGA and Southeastern Sociological Association cooperated to design this campaign as a precursor to the rally set to take place at the Louisiana Capitol on April 15.

Travis said, “There are people that are very concerned about how much they’re cutting.” According to her, response to the cause was positive, with roughly 75 submissions on Tuesday and another 150 on Wednesday.

The campaign achieved its goal of awareness. Many students who did not know about the issue chose to write a letter after learning more, according to Southeastern Sociological Association member Nibha Manandhar.

“I was aware of budget cuts, but I definitely was not aware of how serious they’re becoming and how much they’re going to be cutting,” said Emily Uhl, a nursing major at Southeastern. Uhl submitted a letter which detailed her fears of rising tuition and her feelings of higher education’s importance to the state. “I definitely think they should be putting more funding into schools.”

Travis and Manandhar both confirmed their plans to attend the rally next month and expressed their desire for the campaign to recruit additional supporters. “We’re really excited,” said Travis. “We hope that on April 15 a lot of people come out.”

Louisiana cut its higher education budget by more than $700 million over the past seven years. Gov. Bobby Jindal previously suggested cuts of $400 million before the current proposed $141.3 million.

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