Higher education rally needs more support, planning

Kernel Editorial Board

Last week, many students had to make a pretty tough decision — take an unexcused absence for class or go to Frankfort to voice concerns about higher education funding.

Oddly enough, it seems like class won out.

With a smaller crowd than usual, the annual Rally for Higher Education was more like a get-together for more funding. Without the opportunity for excused absences, many students decided to miss the bus and stay in class — even at the cost of missing a chance to make sure that same class isn’t more expensive next year.

Ensuring the rally happened, which was originally canceled for the second year in a row due to weather, shows there is some level of dedication to figuring out funding for higher education. And at the very least, some students made the trip and took up Student Government’s offer for a free ride and free lunch.

Too bad not enough students took them up on it.

So next year how about learning from previous mistakes? Schedule the rally for a little later in the year, where the chance of snow and ice is less likely.

Early March seems like a good time and there’s been no solid decision-making on higher education funding yet, so it’s not like it would hurt.

Secondly, make sure students can get excused from class to attend. The rally is beneficial to everyone on this campus, because if funding is not cut or if it actually increases, it could mean raises, gainful employment and lower tuition. Clearly, everyone wins if the changes students lobby for occur.

The Rally for Higher Education shouldn’t be an afterthought or just a good look in the newspaper. It should be a difference maker.

Move the date back and help students attend more freely and it will become that. Until then, we seemingly leave our voice up to the weather and strict attendance policies.

Which, in reality, leaves us no voice at all to save higher education funding.

In a Feb. 24 Kernel article, Western Kentucky University student Colton Jessie encouraged those in attendance to fight for their education.

“Demand your education be invested in,” Jessie said. “Because we are the future and worth investing in.”

His words couldn’t be any more true.