It’s time for students to speak out against higher-ed funding cuts

Column by Nick Phelps

I don’t even know how to say hello today. I have so much on my mind that it’s ridiculous.

For starters, our basketball team has more heart than any team I’ve ever seen. The players keep winning no matter how banged up they get — keep it up boys!

Next, I have finally had enough with the potholes outside of Qdoba. I swear I saw a car disappear in one the other day. I am going to see if I can get that fixed, and if not, I may just do it myself and fill it with burritos or something.

Before I talk about the mess in Frankfort, I want to touch on something real quick. A student leader told me that some students were upset by an e-mail that I sent to my executive staff. I told the leader to tell those students to come talk to me, but none have so far. If you are one, please message me. I would love to talk to you about the matter, and I apologize if anyone felt offended; but after we talk, I am sure you will understand. Thanks.

Have you all heard about the new way UK is sending out tuition bills and other paper transactions? They have switched to e-bills, meaning all future bills will be sent through the Internet to students and their parents. This paper-saving move is a huge step in the right direction for UK to become a green campus. If you have other ideas on how UK can become more environmentally friendly, let me know!

After another fabulous Greek Sing and a good lunch at P.F. Chang’s on Sunday, I found myself talking to two good friends, Katie and Caroline. We talked about being seniors soon to graduate in May and how lucky we are to be getting out now with all these crazy budget talks going on in Frankfort. After being interviewed Saturday by Bill Bryant on “Kentucky Newsmakers” about the budget cuts, I felt an increased sense of urgency.

The legislators in our assembly are threatening to cut our university’s operating money, which takes away from our scholarships, faculty and campus facilities, not to mention adding to the tuition increase! Not only are the legislators talking about cutting the university’s budget, but Gov. Steve Beshear is also looking to cut Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship to fill in the deficit holes.

I swear that I am not the protest type, but if we don’t start making some serious noise, things are going to hit the fan. Your Student Government is working hard while going to Frankfort. We are even writing a bill and presenting it to the assembly this week regarding tax credits on textbook purchases.

I will keep you updated on the process as we move along and get closer to Listen Up Legislators, the event that lets college students voice their opinions to the legislators. Listen Up Legislators will begin here in a week or so, and it is so important that you stop by and send your representative a note.

We need so many more students to speak up; I am not playing around here, folks. I say adios in three months, but those of you who are younger need to either get involved with Student Government or be looking for another job or two to pay for school next year.

Mark your calendar for Feb. 20, the date of the higher education rally in Frankfort. We want all of you there, so tell your professors. I am sure they’ll excuse your absence. Tell them the press needs you and that you’re trying to save their jobs.

Our next president’s roundtable will take place Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in room 206 in the Student Center. Stop by and talk to us about getting your organization or friends involved with our lobbying efforts.

Be safe out there and good luck on your first round of exams.

Nick Phelps is the president of UK Student Government. E-mail [email protected]